Favorite Admire Rakti dies after Melbourne Cup

Tue Nov 4, 2014 1:45am EST
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Melbourne Cup favorite Admire Rakti collapsed and died after finishing last at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday.

The Japanese-trained horse started the race as 5-1 favorite but faded toward the end of the grueling 3,200 meter handicap.

"The favorite Admire Rakti on return to the stalls after the race has collapsed and died," Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey said.

"Our vets are on hand and the horse will undergo an autopsy. We will have to await those results for the cause of the death."

It was the second year in a row that a Melbourne Cup runner died. French horse Verema was put down after snapping a bone in its lower leg in last year's race.

Admire Rakti, a seven-year-old stallion, had been carrying 58.5 kg in weight after his impressive victory at the Caulfield Cup, one of the traditional lead up races to the Melbourne Cup.

Owner Riichi Kondo had told Fairfax Media after that win he might consider pulling the Tomoyuki Umeda-trained stayer out of the Melbourne Cup if he was penalized with an extra half a kilo of weight.

"Extra weight would be a worry because I have the horse's welfare to think of," he said. "I would be worried if he was to get any more than 58 (kg). Back in Japan, 58 is the highest weight allotted to any horse."

Ultimately Admire Rakti's connections decided that the horse would run and he started in the leading pack before fading to finish some 25 lengths behind the second last horse.   Continued...