The Tasmanian horse racing industry is currently in a state of mourning after local veteran super star Conquering collapsed during a race and died from a heart attack at Elwick.
The nine-year-old Dangerous gelding was much loved by the public and industry insiders alike and his death came as a huge shock to regular jockey Stephen Maskiell.
Maskiell was not aboard Conquering in Saturday’s race and instead rode the winner, Western Wager.
“I couldn’t believe that it was Conquering when I was bringing Western Wager back to the unsaddling enclosure,” Maskiell said.
“It was such a shock because I rode the horse in track work on Thursday morning and he worked great and in the parade ring today he looked absolutely magnificent, probably the best he’d looked for any first-up run of any preparation.
“Conquering was more than just a great horse he was a Tasmanian icon.
“No other horse has won as much money from races won in Tasmania and his following was enormous because of his incredible will to win.
“The horse brought a lot of happiness to me and I’m sure he brought happiness to a lot of horse lovers and punters all around Australia.
“He was often headed in his races but when the chips were down he’d go in for the fight and more often than not he’d emerge the winner.”
Trainer Charlie Goggin appeared distressed following the unexpected turn of events and choose not to speak with the media.
Conquering had a remarkable career that spanned 81 starts and seven years and had earned close to $900,000 in prize money for his grateful connections.