Leading Australian horse Mummify was euthanized Oct. 16, less than a day after his career-ending third when attempting to repeat his 2003 Caulfield Cup (Aust-I) success.
The crew behind the $5 million (Australian funds) winner pursued every avenue to save Mummify after he smashed sesamoid bones in his left front ankle on pulling up, 100 meters past the finish line.
Veterinary surgeons suggested the 6 year-old warrior be euthanized at the track.
"We owed it to the horse to make every attempt to save him for retirement," an emotional Lee Freedman told the media after the decision had been made to end Mummify's life. "The crucial issue was that the blood supply to the area was compromised with the ligaments torn."
In one of the most dramatic finishes in 128 editions of the Melbourne Racing Club's marquee race, Mummify was one of three contesting the finish with Japan's first Cup runner Eye Popper and Sydney horse Railings. Caulfield's Cup at 2,400 meters is the second most important handicap in Australia, and the second richest at $2.5 million (Australian funds).
Railings surged late to give his sire, Zabeel, a third Cup winner, jockey Greg Childs a second, and trainer John Hawkes his first in 14 attempts over 32 years. The gelded 4-year-old was third choice at 15-2, his seventh win taking his earnings past $2.5 million from 13 starts.
Railings was bred by New Zealand stud Haunui Farm and New South Wales client Noel Robinson. Earlier Zabeel winners were Might and Power and Sky Heights, the second success in 1999 celebrated with a fly past as Zabeels ran 1-2-3.
A $300,000 yearling at the 2003 NZ Premier, Railings is raced by seven owners headed by Melbourne shoe importer Tony Pistikakis, a close friend of the trainer for more than 25 years.
Short necks separated the first three, Eye Popper (40-1) also enormously brave after being trapped wide just off the pace in fourth. On a hard, fast track, the 2:27.97 was the fourth fastest in the past 10 years after soft early fractions.
The southern ambassador for Shunsuke Yoshida and his family's Northern Farm staged trench warfare with the doomed Mummify over the final 250 meters.
Mummify was such a local hero that at 14-1, a second Cup win would have lifted a fortune in bets for his army of fans.
This gelded bay warrior son of 1994 Melbourne Cup winner Jeune (by Kalaglow) was bred in South Australia by Des Green. His dam is the daughter of another Melbourne Cup hero, At Talaq, (by Roberto).
As a yearling, Mummify went to the 2001 Magic Millions in Adelaide and at $41,000 to the Freedman barn where he was syndicated to 10 fortunate owners.
His hero status evolved through 48 starts, which yielded nine wins, eight seconds, and nine thirds. The $200,000 he earned in the Cup lifted his lifetime total to $5,134,320.
Mummify contested 21 grade I races for five wins, three at Caulfield, and seven placings.
As the Freedman stable headliner, the South Australian Derby winner played a crucial role as the trainer of more than 100 group I winners gambled on relocating from Caulfield to a country set-up on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, at Rye.
Mummify delivered Freedman International success in the Singapore Gold Cup (Sing-I), over 2,000 meters of Kranji in May.
In what proved to be his final performance, he did what he always did; gave his all. Lee Freedman said Mummify's greatest asset was his extreme toughness. "Today he was buried on our St. Ives property alongside another champion, Schillaci. Mummify was buried standing up, as befitting a champion. We sent him off with an Irish wake. His owners, and my staff who have known him all these years, wanted to give him a proper farewell. It's a terribly sad day for us all."