O'Brien salutes Anthony Van Dyck after Epsom hero suffers fatal Melbourne injury
Aidan O'Brien has paid tribute to Anthony Van Dyck after last year's Derby hero suffered a fatal injury in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup, describing him as "incredibly tough and genuine".
The Galileo colt, who is understood to be the first Derby winner to race in Australia, broke down in the race won by the Joseph O'Brien-trained Twilight Payment after sustaining a fractured fetlock.
Jamie Stier, Racing Victoria's executive general manager, integrity services, confirmed Anthony Van Dyck had to be humanely euthanised, extending sympathies to connections.
Stier said: "The horse received immediate veterinary care. However, he was unable to be saved due to the nature of the injury sustained."
Anthony Van Dyck's jockey Hugh Bowman was uninjured in the incident.
O'Brien said: "He was a very kind, sound, lovely-natured horse – incredibly tough and genuine. It was very sad to see that happen, it was just very unfortunate. He was a good Derby winner who we'll have fond memories of."
It has been a challenging time for the Ballydoyle trainer in Australia with his 2,000 Guineas runner-up Wichita dying last week. The three-year-old suffered a fracture to his off-hind leg during track work at Werribee before sustaining a further injury to the leg while rehabilitating from recent surgery at Macedon Lodge.
The globetrotting Magic Wand was a late withdrawal from the Cox Plate and unsuccessful attempts to resolve a foot abscess saw her miss out on the remainder of the carnival and enter retirement.
O'Brien's Irish Derby winner Santiago travelled to Australia and was joint-third favourite for the Melbourne Cup but did not line up and is reportedly having a short break.
Armory, just denied by former stablemate Sir Dragonet in the Cox Plate on his sole Australian run, will not contest the Mackinnon Stakes as initially planned, and is instead set to return home with the rest of O'Brien's horses to prepare for a Hong Kong bid later this year.
On the bright side, O'Brien was buoyed by the performance of Melbourne Cup runner-up Tiger Moth, who defied his inexperience to post a career-best effort on just his fifth start.
"We were delighted with Tiger Moth," he said. "He ran a great race and looks like a horse who you'd really look forward to next season. Hopefully he'll be on his way back tomorrow."
He added about his son Joseph's remarkable achievement of winning the race for a second time: "It was incredible for Joseph. I'm delighted for him and everyone involved. To get a horse to improve at that age is amazing really."
Stier said a fatality report on the incident involving Anthony Van Dyck will now be prepared by the Racing Victoria integrity services team as is standard practice.
"The fatality report gives consideration to the circumstances of the incident and any potential learnings to assist in the prevention of similar injuries in the future," he said.
"The report will include the findings of a post-mortem, which will now be conducted by the University of Melbourne Veterinary Clinic and we expect it will be several weeks before we have a completed report for consideration."
Anthony Van Dyck is the seventh horse to have died in the last eight runnings of the Melbourne Cup, with O'Brien's The Cliffsofmoher the last fatality in 2018. The 2018 Irish Derby runner-up Rostropovich, formerly trained at Ballydoyle before joining Australian connections, recovered from a fractured pelvis suffered in the race last year.
The Victoria Racing Club also released a statement following Anthony Van Dyck's death: "The Victoria Racing Club extends its condolences to the owners, trainer Aidan O'Brien and his team who cared for Anthony Van Dyck and are saddened by their loss.
"We would like to thank the track and veterinary staff for their prompt and humane care of the horse.
"The Club remains totally committed to the welfare of all equine athletes and the ongoing focus on their wellbeing and will continue to work with the industry to understand the cause of this incident."
Concerns have been raised over the volume of injuries involving horses working at Werribee in recent years, with the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Red Galileo retired after pulling up lame following trackwork before last year's Melbourne Cup.
Marmelo, trained by Hughie Morrison, and Charlie Appleby's Ispolini also missed out last on year's race after CT scans revealed signs of soreness.
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