Horse racing world shook to the core as the beautiful Sir Erec has to be put down
He had the potential to become one of the best we've seen.
There were some heartbreaking scenes on Cheltenham Friday as the Joseph O'Brien trained Sir Erec had to be put down after sustaining a leg break in the Triumph Hurdle.
JP McManus' four-year-old came into Friday's opener as the red hot favourite along with the billing of 'Irish banker' for the entire festival.
Nobody could have foreseen the horrible scenes that were to follow, however.
Just before the start, Kildare jockey Mark Walsh noticed that the former flat horse had lost one of his shoes on his way down to the start.
The on-course farrier soon arrived to tend to the colt, and after four or five minutes of waiting and repairing that wrapped the whole of Pretsbury Park in tension, he rejoined the bunch and went off as the 11/10 favourite.
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) March 15, 2019
Four fences in, however, and poor Sir Erec took a stray step on landing in a turn that would eventually see his leg break and have the horse put down.
Nicky Henderson's Pentland Hills went onto win the race under Nico De Boinville, but the subdued winners enclosure afterward spoke volumes for a horse racing world that had been shook to the core.
David Sykes, the director of equine health and welfare for the BHA spoke to ITV racing afterwards and he insisted that the shoe incident and the fatal injury were "two separate incidents."
"That's one of those catastrophic injuries that occur," he continued.
Our thoughts go out to JP McManus, Joseph O'Brien and all the horses' connections.
RIP to the beautiful Sir Erec.
Heartbreaking scenes at Cheltenham as the beautiful Sir Erec breaks down with a nasty looking leg injury in the Triumph Hurdle.
Really sad to see. pic.twitter.com/mxT0lHxAJo
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) March 15, 2019