Sadly for the connections of Eliza Park ‘graduate’ King Pulse (pictured below), the after effects of Saturday’s massive storm in Melbourne will linger long.
After competing in the VRC Newmarket Handicap-G1 – and running a thrilling fourth (beaten just over a length) to Wanted – King Pulse was injured in the Flemington tunnel after taking fright during the storm.
AAP’s Robert Windmill, spoke with leading trainer Mike Moroney, after the incident.
Trainer Mike Moroney has called for protocols to be put in place to avoid repeating the risk of a disaster when adverse weather threatens a race meeting.
Moroney said he was amazed the Newmarket Handicap was run on Saturday when lightning was flashing and thunder claps could be heard on the course.
Moroney's runner, King Pulse, finished fourth but his future is uncertain after he was seriously injured on the way back to his stall after the race.
Stewards have stood by their decision to run the Group One race which was made after direct contact with the weather bureau.
Chief steward Terry Bailey said that 20 minutes before the Newmarket the bureau had told stewards the storm was 30 minutes away.
“I said let’s go and run it, but it turned out to be the worst storm in 40 years,” Bailey said.
“It is easy to make these decisions in hindsight but the horses were up the top of the 1200m straight (when lightning could be seen) and they had to come back somehow.”
The 19 runners in the Newmarket raced towards the storm which was coming from the north-west before rain and hailstones flooded the track moments after the race finished.
King Pulse, a Group One placed three-year-old, took fright in the tunnel as he was being led back and a number of other horses, including the winner Wanted, also broke away from their handlers.
King Pulse fractured his off-side shoulder and has a dropped off-side hip after he skidded in the tunnel and got loose. He also has lacerations and bruising.
“We won’t know much more for four or five days,” Moroney said.
“He’s comfortable but under a fair bit of treatment and we just have to wait and see if there is any infection.
“He has got cuts everywhere.
“Now this has happened, surely they will put some protocols and order in place when there is a storm coming,” Moroney said.
“If the weather bureau tells us a storm is half an hour away and we will have 10 minutes to race we just don’t run.
“We don’t take the risk because if you are out by five minutes it could cause a complete disaster.”