Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck dies following Melbourne Cup injury

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Anthony Van Dyck pictured before the 2018 Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs in Kentucky.
Anthony Van Dyck pictured before the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs in Kentucky. © Jlvsclrk, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck has been euthanised after breaking a fetlock in the closing stages of the 2020 Melbourne Cup at Flemington in Australia today.

Jockey Hugh Bowman felt the horse falter and pulled him up and dismounted. Anthony Van Dyck was taken off the track in an equine ambulance at the 400m mark.

Racing Victoria (RV) said the four-year-old stallion received immediate veterinary care, “however, he was unable to be saved due to the nature of the injury sustained”, said Jamie Stier, RV’s Executive General Manager, Integrity Services.

“Our sympathies are extended to the owners of Anthony Van Dyck, trainer Aidan O’Brien and all his staff who cared for the horse and are greatly saddened by their loss.”

Stier said a fatality report would now be prepared by the RV Integrity Services team as per 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,” Stier 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 had won the 2019 Epsom Derby and was one of the favourites for the showcase Melbourne race. He was carrying top weight of 58.5kg.

Bred in Ireland by a company associated with Coolmore Stud, he was owned by a partnership of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Susan Magnier. He was a late foal, being born on May 19, 2016. He had won six races and just over $A4 million from 18 starts.

He was sired by Galileo, who won the Derby, Irish Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2001. Anthony Van Dyck’s dam Believe’N’Succeed was a successful racemare in Australia, winning the Blue Diamond Prelude Fillies in 2008, and went on to produce the Railway Stakes winner Bounding before being exported to Ireland. She was a granddaughter of the Alabama Stakes winner November Snow and a female-line descendant of the American broodmare Blue Denim.

Anthony Van Dyck's form and statistics going into the Melbourne Cup.
Anthony Van Dyck’s form and statistics going into the Melbourne Cup.

Irish bred and trained Twilight Payment led all the way to win the 2020 Melbourne Cup, with Tiger Moth second, followed by Prince of Arran in third, and The Chosen One fourth. The only other horse to lead from start to finish in the Melbourne Cup was Might and Power in 1997. Twilight Payment is the second Cup winner for trainer Joseph O’Brien, 27, who became the youngest trainer to win the Cup with Rekindling in 2017. O’Brien was watching in the early hours of the morning from his base in Ireland. There were no spectators at the meeting.

It was the first attempt at the Cup for by Victorian jockey Jye McNeil, but the seventh time owner Lloyd Williams has won, with the first in 1981. He shares the ownership of Twilight Payment with family and friends.

Twilight Payment is an eight-year-old gelding by Teofilo and from the Oasis Dream mare Dream on Buddy.

Twilight Payment leads the field around the first bend in the Melbourne Cup.
Twilight Payment leads the field around the first bend in the Melbourne Cup. © Quinn Rooney/Getty Images for the VRC
Fracture detection research

Racing Victoria said one of the key initiatives in its Equine Welfare Strategy is a five-year $6.2 million bone research project between RV, the State Government and the University of Melbourne which is aimed at early detection and prevention of bone injuries in thoroughbred racehorses.

This research is being undertaken to reduce the incidence of fatal racing injuries such as that sustained during the running of the Melbourne Cup.

RV said Victoria’s raceday fatality rate was among the lowest in world racing with a safety record of 99.95% and a fatal incident rate of 0.05%. It was striving to reduce raceday fatalities towards zero.

Over the last 10 years, Flemington Racecourse has averaged two fatal racing accidents per year in flat racing.

Anthony Van Dyck is the second racing fatality at Flemington Racecourse in 2020. His was the fifth catastrophic limb injury sustained in the Melbourne Cup over the last 40 years, following The Cliffsofmoher (2018), Red Cadeaux (2015), Verema (2013) and Three Crowns (1998). Red Cadeaux was euthanised two weeks after the race after suffering irreversible complications that arose with his injured foreleg. In 2014 Admire Rakti died of cardiac arrest after finishing the Melbourne Cup carrying 58.5kg. That year Araldo broke a leg and died after being spooked by a spectator waving a flag.

• Wichita, a stablemate of Anthony Van Dyck, was euthanised in later October following a hindleg fracture during training at Werribee. The leg had been injured during an incident in quarantine at the Werribee facility. It followed the death of another imported horse, Involved, who was euthanised after fracturing two sesamoid bones in a trackwork accident at Werribee.

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