Devastated O'Brien puts 'Erec' loss into perspective
Joseph O'Brien was trying to keep things in perspective after suffering a huge blow with the loss of star juvenile hurdler Sir Erec yesterday.
The four-year-old, which had also been a smart performer on the Flat for O'Brien's father Aidan, had to be euthanised after suffering an injury during the JCB Triumph Hurdle, for which he had been a hot favourite.
While admitting his devastation at the loss of Sir Erec, O'Brien felt the Christchurch mosque shootings that killed 49 people in New Zealand helped to put matters into context.
He told Racing TV: "We're devastated - everyone at home, the owners and everyone. It's one of those things.
"It was documented he had a stone bruise during the week and he seemed perfect the last couple of days. He had a full set of X-rays two days ago just to make sure there was nothing else going on, and they were perfectly clean.
"Mark (Walsh, jockey) said he jumped the hurdle awkwardly and landed extremely awkwardly and obviously he got injured.
"It's one of those things, but I suppose when you see what happened in New Zealand last night, it kind of brings it into perspective a little and we'll move on."
Sir Erec, which won both of his starts over hurdles, spread a plate on the way to the start but appeared to be unperturbed and stood perfectly motionless and calm while the farrier fitted a new one.
David Sykes, director of equine welfare at the British Horseracing Authority, told ITV Racing: "Sometimes there are catastrophic injuries. This morning he was examined by a veterinary surgeon and there was no indication of lameness, there was no indication of injuries.
"Whether he made a mistake at that hurdle or not and landed awkwardly - there was no reason we could predict that injury to that horse today.
"He was shod and the veterinary surgeon trotted him up in the same way. The shoe was having no effect. Putting a shoe on wasn't going to cause that sort of injury."
There was further heartbreak later in the afternoon when Invitation Only also had to be put down after a falling at the 10th fence in the Gold Cup.
His death was a further blow to Mullins and owners Graham and Andrea Wylie, who also lost Ballyward in the National Hunt Chase on the opening day of the Festival.