The 2018 Melbourne Cup has been marred by the death of The Cliffsofmoher, who pulled up lame during the early stages of the race.
Many distressed viewers took to Twitter to express concern for the runner even before the race had finished, noticing it trail off the back of the pack less than halfway through the race.
According to the Herald Sun, Joseph O’Brien, trainer of last year’s winning horse and son of The Cliffsofmoher’s trainer Aidan O’Brien, said it “didn’t look good” when he saw the horse being treated by vets.
Viewers waiting anxiously as the tarp was raised on the track following the conclusion of the race, an ominous sign in any horse race.
— Jase Kemp (@jasetaylorkemp) November 6, 2018
**BREAKING** Cliffsofmoher has been injured within the first 600m of the #melbournecup. We’ll update with more as soon as information becomes available.
— RSPCA Australia (@RSPCA) November 6, 2018
It was soon confirmed by Racing.com editor Shane Anderson that The Cliffsofmoher had been put down as a result of a fractured right shoulder.
Horrible news. The Cliffsofmoher suffered a fractured right shoulder when injured in the Melbourne Cup, unfortunately could not be saved. Thoughts with connections. @Racing
— Shane Anderson (@Globalgallop) November 6, 2018
The reaction on social media was one of sadness and anger, with some labelling the Melbourne Cup as exploitative of animals and others suggesting the horse should have been scratched from the race.
Congratulations to those who picked that exactly one horse will be destroyed after suffering agonising injuries today. Not Cliffsofmoher's day, I'm afraid. I hope the champagne was bubbly and the fascinators fascinating. #MelbourneCup #NupToTheCup https://t.co/i48AZxRAPF
— Stuart Khan (@stukhan) November 6, 2018
— Chris Bell (@dingcb) November 6, 2018
The sky is crying for CliffsofMoher at the stupid, pointless #MelbourneCup
— Sharsh (@i_sharsh) November 6, 2018