Triumph then tragedy as horse euthanised Gore Guineas

Mackenzie Lad pips Ruby’s Lad in the Gore Guineas on Saturday just seconds before pulling up lame...
Mackenzie Lad pips Ruby’s Lad in the Gore Guineas on Saturday just seconds before pulling up lame. PHOTO: MONICA TORETTO
Delight turned to despair for leading trainers Michael and Matthew Pitman when their champion horse had to be euthanised at the Gore Racing Club’s meeting on Saturday.

Mackenzie Lad had stormed to victory in the $60,000 Gore Guineas when he pulled up, and apprentice jockey Diego Montes de Oca made a hasty dismount.

The 3yr-old gelding was immediately assessed by the on-course veterinarian and found to have suffered a fracture to the near front fetlock.

“At least Diego wasn’t injured, but we’ve gone from a big high to a terrible low pretty quickly,’’ Matthew Pitman told NZ Racing Desk.

“It sometimes happens to the really good ones because they try so hard.

“He was a pretty special horse. The only time he ever finished worse than fourth was when he was sixth in the 2000 Guineas from a wide run.

"We had been working our way towards the Levin Classic at Trentham in March. That was how highly we thought of him, but unfortunately it’s not to be.

"It’s a tough one to take."

Raced by his breeders, Grant Midgley and Stephanie Rathgen, Mackenzie Lad lined up in 13 races for three wins, seven placings and more than $104,000 in stakes.

He had raced wide throughout the Gore Guineas and found himself in a shootout with another lad, pre-race favourite Ruby’s Lad.

Mackenzie Lad stayed a head clear and was an imperious sight as he claimed victory in the listed race before pulling up lame.

Asathought won the other feature race on Saturday, the Gore Cup over 2000m.

The 5yr-old mare, trained by Lisa Vaughan at Ascot Park, showed real finishing power to streak past favourite Take The Deel and Nomen Ludi.

The first race at the meeting started 10 minutes late as a horse attendant suffered an injury in the birdcage and required medical treatment.

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