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Pat Carey’s Group 1 The BMW winner Cedarberg has died without warning in a horrible shock to the Australian racing industry, the spring Cups contender suffering an apparent heart attack after an early morning track workout at Moonee Valley.
The five-year-old Helenus gelding worked without showing any signs of distress over 1600 metres with Rhys McLeod in the mount.
Heading to the stripping stalls, Cedarberg suddenly collapsed and fell through the running rail around the 1400 metre mark on the Moonee Valley track, passing away instantly.
“It was a pretty easy sort of workout, just to have a look at the Valley,” Carey said.
“He (Cedarberg) pulled up to a walk after the workout, turn around and sort of staggered and fell through the fence and that was that.”
It was a devastating affair for Carey who believed the horse was in a prime position heading into the spring carnival and also for Cedarberg’s owner-breeders who have lost a horse to such a rare event making it “really hard to call them” with the news according to Carey.
“Usually it’d be something like a ruptured aorta,” Carey said.
“The horse will have a post mortem on him and time will tell.
“It doesn’t happen very often that sort of thing.”
Cedarberg enjoyed a career highlight during last season’s Sydney Autumn Carnival, the brave galloper claiming a surprise victory in the $2.25 million Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill.
Their last and subsequently final appearance was a seventh place finish behind Temple Of Boom in the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on August 6.
That run was meant to be the starting point of a successful 2011 spring campaign for Cedarberg, Carey having entered the improving stayer for the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate with a nomination for the iconic Melbourne Cup to follow.
“He was already an established mile and a half horse,” Carey explained.
“He was well positioned for the spring.
“His Aurie’s Star run was really nice.”
Cedarberg was rated a $26 chance for the Caulfield Cup and was paying $51 in the Cox Plate odds at Luxbet, while in the pre-nomination Melbourne Cup markets punters could get them at $61.
“He looked in fantastic health (before his death),” Carey said with a hint of sadness.
“We thought we were in a pretty good place to go forward.”
Carey also reported that McLeod came through the incident without any physical injuries.
“Rhys is 100 per cent, he was able to get out of the way,” he said.
“Just bad luck for Rhys.
“He’s a really big part of what I do and he’s a really talented rider.
“Rhys rode him in the Aurie’s Star and was going to ride him next start in the Craigslea (Handicap at Moonee Valley this Saturday).”
Other notable career performances by Cedarberg included his second to Guyno in this year’s Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) and their brave second behind Linton in last spring’s Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield.
Their final career record will stand at four wins and four minor placings from 17 starts earning $1,506,917 in prize money.
“They don’t grow on trees, you could wait a lifetime and not get a horse like that,” Carey said of moving on and his chances of coming across another Cedarberg.
“I was fortunate to have had him.”
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