Many Clouds: had never collapsed after a race until Saturday
PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Baxter 4:41PM 30 JAN 2017
AN AUTOPSY carried out on Grand National winner Many Clouds has found the ten-year-old suffered a severe pulmonary haemorrhage which caused his death after his brave victory at Cheltenham on Saturday.
The 2015 Aintree hero defeated Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Thistlecrack in a thrilling finish to the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase, but died after crossing the line.
It had been suspected that Many Clouds suffered a heart attack, but the autopsy result showed he suffered a severe internal bleed.
The post-mortem concluded there was no underlying cause which could have triggered the haemorrhage, and officials added that such episodes are rare with the fatality rate within jump racing for horses suffering from similar episodes is just 0.048 per cent of runners.
Tony Welsh, acting chief veterinary officer for the BHA, said on Monday: “Episodes such as this are rare, and can occur in horses which have no underlying health issues, and amongst all disciplines of sport horses.
“In spite of the rarity of these incidents, as a sport we are determined to do more to understand what causes these symptoms, and whether more can be done to prevent it. Several studies have been commissioned, as part of the £32million-plus invested in veterinary science and research by the sport though the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) since the year 2000. The overall fatality rate in British racing has fallen by a third in this period.
No signs of post-race ataxia
Many Clouds had suffered from post-race ataxia in the past, a syndrome characterised by loss of balance in walking following exercise.
He had exhibited those symptoms at Aintree, when he was wobbly on his feet after winning the Grand National, but did not display any symptoms of post-race ataxia following his Cheltenham win and had never previously collapsed after a race.
Welsh added: “Post-race ataxia and similar symptoms are linked to an increase in body temperature after exercise and can be treated by providing the horse with water. It is not uncommon in racehorses or other sport horses.
“Despite some reports following the incident, there is no existing veterinary evidence which links these symptoms with racehorse fatalities, and the post-mortem results have categorically proved that the symptoms exhibited by Many Clouds in the past were in no way present or associated with his sad death at Cheltenham.
“Our thoughts remain with everyone connected to the horse. Any loss of life is regrettable, and we continue to use research, safety measures, regulation and education to reduce fatality rates to as close to zero as possible.”
The post-mortem had been carried out with the permission of Many Clouds’ trainer Oliver Sherwood and owner Trevor Hemmings.