Champion steeplechaser Zed Em has been retired after falling at the second-last fence in the $100,000 J.E.H Spencer Memorial Steeplechase (3500m) at Pakenham on Easter Monday.
The 11-year-old son of Zed won over $1 million in prizemoney across his 60 race starts, which saw him finish in the winner’s circle on 17 separate occasions.
Somewhat of a cult hero of the jumping world, Zed Em started in four Grand Annual Steeplechases (5500m) over the Warrnambool May Carnival, winning in 2019 and finishing in the minor placings in 2018, 2020 and 2021, while he also won three consecutive Von Doussa Steeplechases (3250m) at Oakbank across 2018, 2019 and 2020, before coming agonisingly close to winning in 2021.
Despite having fallen twice in barrier trials across his seven years of racing, he had never fallen under race conditions until Monday, which ultimately bought an end to his career.
Having led throughout the 3500m event, Zed Em and jockey Steven Pateman came to the second-last fence slightly in front of Britannicus and eventual winner Riding High, but he put in an awkward stride before the jump and came down, dislodging Pateman.
Such is the warhorse nature of Zed Em, he hopped back up to his feet and jumped the final hurdle, completing the race on all four feet, but later scans revealed that he had suffered a shoulder injury, which would bring a premature retirement to his racing career.
Trainer Patrick Payne said that the horse will be given the best possible care in his recovery before finding a suitable home to see out his days, with Living Legends a possibility.