Much-loved racehorse Red Cadeaux was placed in the hands of vets and rushed to an equine hospital in Werribee just moments after the conclusion of the 2015 Melbourne Cup.
Red Cadeaux incurred a suspected fetlock injury after pulling up during the closing stages of the race, which was won by Michelle Payne aboard Prince Of Penzance.
Racing Victoria confirmed the 10-year-old gelding’s injury, saying he had been taken to Werribee Vet Clinic for further assessment, after failing to finish.
He had been stabilised on track and his leg was put into a splint.
The horse, which was a sentimental favourite for the event, was seen to be struggling on the track after the race finished. Vets erected a screen around the 10-year-old, but he was seen walking to a waiting truck before being taken directly to the Werribee facility.
His trainer Ed Dunlop said he had received encouraging news on the horse.
Dunlop said Red Cadeaux had been immediately retired.
“He’s in great hands, and we’re seeking a lot of advice and we will do whatever is best for the horse,” Dunlop said.
“When I was on the grass, I thought we wouldn’t see him alive again. He’s alive and well, that’s all I want to say.
“When we drove here I wasn’t expecting as encouraging news with that injury.
“He’s eating grass … and he looks happy, he has fluids. It’s a bad injury, but it should be repairable.
“We’ve discussed three or four times we were going to retire him and we haven’t retired him. All seemed very well with him but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
“I thought he was going to be put down. At this stage he hasn’t, he was obviously immediately retired. If the guys do their job, he’ll have a very happy retirement.”
British owner Dunlop and his wife Becky were by the horse’s side.
Fans were aware of the incident and cheered when the horse walked to the truck.
Red Cadeaux has been runner-up in the Melbourne Cup on three occasions, has competed in the event five times and many punters hoped 2015 could be his year.
He has won $8.1 million prize money in his career.
Concerns about his health follows a disastrous 2014 Melbourne Cup, when the favourite, Admire Rakti, died in the stalls after the race from a heart attack, and Araldo was spooked by a punter after the race and broke a leg, and was later put down.