A horse has fallen after suffering a ruptured aorta during the running of the Woodford Reserve Hurdle on the weekend.
Java Star collapsed as he approached the race’s final hurdle in front of masses of onlookers at the Oakbank Carnival in South Australia.
The horse’s jockey, Steven Pateman, was lucky enough to survive the fall uninjured.
“He seemed to be jumping all right, but I don’t know what happened before the last,” Pateman said.
Course Veterinarian, Harry Fraunenfelder, was the first on the scene and discovered the aortic aneurysm that caused the tragic fall.
“It’s not a common incident but I’ve seen it a fair amount,” Frauenfelder said.
“The horse would have been all but dead before he hit the fence.”
Frances Nelson, chairwoman for Thoroughbred Racing SA, said that while the Java Star’s death was a tragedy, it was in no way a consequence of jumps racing.
“We were at the scene in a hurry but he was gone when we got there,” Ms Nelson said.
“TRSA strongly supports jumps racing – it’s an integral part of the racing industry.
“Oakbank is one of our state’s great icons and we will continue to give the carnival every support.”
The six-year-old Java Star had won his only previous jumps racing start and was favourite to win the Woodford Reserve Hurdle.