Farm Ireland

Sunday 22 April 2018

From write-offs to born-again winners...

Gordon Lord Byron winning the Dubai Duty Free Dash Stakes at the Curragh last year.
Gordon Lord Byron winning the Dubai Duty Free Dash Stakes at the Curragh last year.

On the same day Rule The World won the Grand National at Aintree, a filly named Missrock was making a winning comeback on the flat in the $500,000 (€330,000) Group 3 Percy Sykes Stakes at Royal Randwick in Australia.

By the champion sire Fastnet Rock, the three-year-old won a listed race on her track debut last October and finished third in a Group 2 before suffering a potentially career-ending injury to her pelvis on her third start last November.

Rachael Laing, wife of the trainer Robbie Laing, explained to the Farming Independent what had happened on that day. "Immediately after she jumped from the barriers we could see something had gone terribly wrong as she was running out the back of the field with her tail carried high. She never made any ground and looked very uncomfortable with the way she was galloping.

"The next day when she had cooled down it was evident that she had soreness in her back area, so she was sent to the Werribee Veterinary Clinic where they discovered she had fractured her pelvis. We then sent her for the required box rest and rehabilitation at Cloverdale which is a specialist equine rehabilitation centre near to us.

"When we examined her at Cloverdale before she began her pre-training in February, we noticed that the injury has caused a strange appearance above her tail and some of the muscle was missing on the left side.

When Rob queried this with our vet, Dr Glenn Robertson Smith, he advised Rob that she would be fine to race without that muscle looking like it had before and so it was fingers crossed that she would be able to race as successfully as she had before the injury.

"Naturally were absolutely over the moon to see her win so well on one of Australia's biggest race days and we were also delighted to see only hours later that the most famous jumping race in the world was won by a horse who had succumbed to the same injury."

Closer to home, other thoroughbreds who have also fully recovered from similar injuries include the sprinter Gordon Lord Byron.

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Trained by Tom Hogan throughout his career, he fractured his pelvis on his first run at Roscommon as a two-year-old.

He returned to the track 12 months later and has since proven to be a great servant with three Group One races to his credit.

A similar story follows Well Armed, winner of the Dubai World Cup in 2009.

Three years earlier the gelding had suffered a fractured pelvis, but after almost a year in recuperation he returned to the track with Irish trainer Eoin Harty. In the lead up to Dubai he accumulated other notable wins including the Grade 1 Goodwood Handicap in Santa Anita.

Irish event horse producer Carol Gee has also seen one of her horses come back to form after a long lay-off from a broken pelvis.

One in particular is the Irish-bred Sportsfield Iceman who was deemed a write-off but went on to represent Ireland in numerous three-day events including Blenheim, Bramham, Luhmuhlen and Punchestown.

"He had a lot of ailments and was quite the bargain at the time as he cost me just £2 as part of an insurance write-off, but hacks up Slievenamon Mountain got him back to fitness," she said.

Indo Farming