Derby-winning racehorse to leave Macau after stable accident
Derby-winning racehorse The Alfonso may leave Macau for greener pastures after the racing season ends next month to pursue more suitable competition, one of its owners says, barely half a year after the horse arrived at the gambling enclave.
Plans for relocation - to Singapore or New Zealand - followed a stable accident at the Macau Jockey Club last month that left the four-year-old Australian-born colt with a deep gash on the forehead, inflicted by a metre-long slab of concrete that fell on its head.
Last Sunday there was keen interest in his first competitive race in nearly a month, since returning from the injury.
The horse finished sixth out of 12 runners, and a full nine lengths behind the winner Pak Lok Angel, who beat rival Gold Alloy in a photo finish.
Gold Alloy had lost to The Alfonso in April's Macau Derby by 51/2 lengths.
Television racing commentator Henry Troy observed online: "The Alfonso started to make a bit of ground down the side" as it advanced among the middle of the racing pack. "[He] just never really got into the race."
The million-dollar prize-winning colt was nearing the end of its first Macau racing season when part of the ceiling in his stable caved in on June 1. About 10 stitches were needed.
"Now we think there is no problem with The Alfonso, and we've not seen any issue yet," Eric Chen Ching Lung, co-owner of the horse, said.
"We will see after the next race if he performs well; we [may] take him to Singapore because there are not enough races fit for the horse [in Macau].
"Maybe we will return it to New Zealand. The prize money is much better there than Macau."
Chen did not indicate his plans for the horse's transfer had anything to do with the accident.
But another racehorse owner said of the impact of the injury: "This is a four-year-old and a Derby winner. He beat the Gold Alloy by five and half lengths in the Derby, but he got beaten by the same horse by nine lengths.
"Of course there is a track difference [of sand instead of grass] but it shouldn't be that big."
Since starting out in Macau in February, The Alfonso has won prize money of HK$1.27 million.
Because of the injury, Chen did not have to pay training fees for one month, understood to be in the region of 35,000 patacas.
"The Alfonso has resumed training and racing," club spokeswoman Amanda Savage said. "The veterinary surgeons and trainer opined that Alfonso has fully recovered and thus the agreed compensation is deemed sufficient."