Racing Victoria officials will launch a thorough investigation into the death of Melbourne Cup runner Anthony Van Dyck once post mortem results on the horse are complete.
The 2019 Epsom Derby winner suffered a catastrophic leg injury during the final stages of Tuesday’s race and despite attempts by veterinarians to save him, he was euthanased.
Jamie Stier, RV’s executive general manager of integrity services, told Melbourne’s RSN radio the horse’s death had cast a pall over Cup day.
“Everyone at Racing Victoria, and I know the VRC (Victoria Racing Club) as well from speaking with them yesterday, are deeply moved by the loss of yet another horse in the Melbourne Cup,” Stier told RSN.
The death of Anthony Van Dyck follows that of another Aidan O’Brien-trained horse, Cliffofmoher, who was euthanased after he broke down during the 2018 Melbourne Cup.
The stable also lost Wichita this spring after he fractured a leg at the Werribee training centre while preparing for a spring carnival bid.
RV conducted a review into Werribee following the demise of Cliffsofmoher and found the facility did not contribute to his injury.
Stier said Werribee hosted race meetings when it wasn’t being used as a quarantine facility and had not had a racing fatality for seven years.
RV has also improved its pre-testing requirements for international horses in a bid to identify and rule out any who could be at risk of injury.
“We’ve enhanced the pre-export requirements over in Europe and overseas generally regarding the suitability of the horses to travel,” Stier said.
“They had x-rays done before they came and the x-rays were thoroughly reviewed and as a consequence of that practice, along with the other requirements of videos and reports from stable vets and an independent regulatory vet, it did lead to one horse not travelling.”
Anthony Van Dyck had 58.5kg in the Melbourne Cup, an impost no horse has carried to victory since Think Big in 1975.
While Stier said there was no evidence the horse’s weight was a factor in his injury, he said it would be looked at, along with the impact of the firm track conditions at Flemington.