x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Fox Hunt's fatal fall leaves spectators disturbed

Fellow jockey Dettori relieved timely action avoided the worst.

Opinion Poll gave Frankie Dettori a second win on Dubai World Cup night.
Opinion Poll gave Frankie Dettori a second win on Dubai World Cup night.

DUBAI // For the first time in the history of the Dubai World Cup, a race was halted before the finish after one of the horses fell soon after the start.

Fox Hunt broke both his forelegs as he fell in the Dubai Gold Cup race, the third of the evening, approximately 100 metres after the start as the pack was clearing.

Immediately it was clear that it was serious as the horse nose-dived and threw jockey Silvestre De Sousa to the ground.

De Sousa was unhurt but race officials were on the track within seconds as Fox Hunt, part of the Godolphin stable, attempted to stand but could not.

As the 3,200-metre race continued, a screen was swiftly put up around the horse. When it became clear that he could not be moved off the track, the race was stopped after about 300m more, before the horses came around the track for a second time.

"The horse broke a leg," said Frankie Dettori, the first jockey for Godolphin. "He fell on the bend. It could have been a disaster if we had gone on. Thank God there were officials in the car, otherwise we would have run right on top of them."

Fox Hunt was among the leading contenders for the race, having come into the race with two successive wins. It was confirmed later that both of Fox Hunt's forelegs were broken and the horse was put down. "It's a terrible shame," said the trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni. "He was a very nice horse. It's very sad."

The incident briefly cast a pall on what had been till then a typically bustling and cheery race day. As soon as it happened, the vast majority of the spectators in the general stands became more concerned with what was happening with Fox Hunt than the race.

"I've come here every year for the last seven and I've never seen anything like this happen," said Ram Kumar, a spectator in the general stands. "It was disturbing to watch but they acted quickly to stop the race because it could've been worse."

The race was eventually run again after the World Cup. Dettori rounded off a superb evening for Godolphin by winning on Opinion Poll. Joshua Tree was second and Zanzamar took third.

Two more horses pulled up when the race was re-run. Grand Vent, the Godolphin entry, was the first, at the halfway stage, and Bronze Cannon was the other, immediately after.


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