Jockey Ryan Moore on Cliffsofmoher is assisted by a race steward. Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP
Jockey Ryan Moore on Cliffsofmoher is assisted by a race steward. Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Time to stop the race that stops a nation

IT WAS the 1979 Melbourne Cup and I was up to my armpits in chicken and champagne with my workmates.

Our workplace was decorated with bunting and balloons. Office sweeps adorned the walls. Someone had made the trip to the TAB and we all clutched our betting slips.

It was all excitement and hype and, of course, all about us.

The favourite was the Colin Hayes-owned and trained Dulcify, who'd won the Cox Plate that year by a record seven lengths.

But Dulcify didn't win. In fact, he didn't even finish. He couldn't. His pelvis broke.

The Cliffsofmoher (left) pulls up lame during the 2018 Melbourne Cup. Picture: Andy Brownbill/AP
The Cliffsofmoher (left) pulls up lame during the 2018 Melbourne Cup. Picture: Andy Brownbill/AP


According to a story written 30 years later to commemorate his death, he raced on after an incident with another horse (Hyperno, who went on to win) "but faltered approaching the home turn" when he was pulled out of the race by jockey Brent Thomson". He was euthanised.

Running on with a broken pelvis? Can you imagine the pain?

Nearly 40 years on, I still remember my tears and being hit by the realisation that horses, who have no choice in the matter, can and do pay the ultimate cost in the name of a so-called sport, the principal human players in which, aside from the jockeys, are always safely tucked away from harm in the grandstands, the bars, the betting shops.

Tarps are erected as Cliffsofmoher is attended to on the track. Picture: Twitter/Jase Kemp
Tarps are erected as Cliffsofmoher is attended to on the track. Picture: Twitter/Jase Kemp


As a horse lover and owner myself, I don't know why it took the death of Dulcify to wake me up to this.

But of course the carnage continues and the awful, gut-wrenching and heart-rending pictures today of The Cliffsofmoher with a fractured shoulder again brought tears to my eyes and anger to my chest.

The Cliffsofmoher's death is the sixth Melbourne Cup death in six years.

Isn't it time to stop the race that stops the nation and, while we're at it, stop the sport that PETA Australia records has killed 119 horses on racetracks in the past year alone?



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