Terrific article by Jamie Pandaram in last week’s Sydney Telegraph about Stem Cell treatment and how it’s got Hay List back on track.
Revolutionary $2000 stem-cell surgery could reignite a million-dollar racing career of the world’s second fastest sprinter.
Champion gelding Hay List has undergone a remarkable medical first in Australia for a racehorse, with fat sucked from his tail and injected into his injured knee in a groundbreaking procedure that could turn injury rehabilitation for horses and humans on its head.
Second only to Black Caviar, the 600kg Hay List was thought to have run his last race after fracturing his leg in April, but could yet return next year and even compete at Royal Ascot in a bid to match his great rival’s effort last week.
The liposuction procedure involves extracting dormant cells hidden in fat that can turn themselves into muscle and tendon to repair badly damaged body parts.
These cells are injected into the affected area, and the rest of the cells are stored in a lab for future use if maintenance or repairs are required.
The world-leading technology has been developed by Australian company Medivet, and its co-founder Garry Andrews confirmed details of the operation on Hay List, which was performed last week while Black Caviar was in England claiming her 22nd consecutive victory.”We found a little pocket of fat in either side of his tail,” Andrews said.
“We made a little incision and removed a little bit of fat.
“We processed that fat and got millions of cells. We took that back the next day and injected either side of the knee with the stem cells to start helping him heal and grow back whatever is necessary in the knee.
“This is the first use of its kind in Australia.
“This horse is the king of racing. Had it not been for Black Caviar, he certainly would have won many more Group 1 races.
“This miracle horse had colic, smashed his knee during the operation and has now had an operation to take bone out of that knee.”
In three weeks, Medivet will do further liposuction on Hay List - which involves an incision a quarter of the size of a 5c coin - to bank millions more cells.
“That is to help Hay List come back to his best,” Andrews said.
“I believe Hay List will come back fit and strong. We’re giving it the best technology in the world and giving it every possible chance.”
Hay List has claimed $2.5 million in prizemoney and has 15 wins and six seconds from 23 starts. Four of those second places have come behind Black Caviar, and Hay List is rated as the fifth-best horse globally with Timeform on 132 points.
Black Caviar is second with 136 points, and British horse Frankel is rated the greatest ever with 147 points.
Hay List has battled health problems for some time, undergoing an operation for colic earlier this year. It was during that operation that he slipped and fractured his knee.
Trainer John McNair, who is holidaying overseas, said last week after the successful operation: “If he can come back somewhere near his best, it’s still good enough to win Group 1 races.
“Horses like him have the habit of doing the impossible. Their mental toughness and determination sets them apart.
“That’s what makes Black Caviar the freak she is.
“I’ve set the target of the Lightning Stakes at Flemington next year, but that’s probably not realistic. Maybe Brisbane in the winter is more realistic.”
Hay List’s finest moment came when he carried a huge 58.5kg to win the Newmarket Handicap in March.
The technology could pave the way for racehorses to extend their careers, and Andrews expects humans to wholly embrace the procedure within a few years.
NRL player Anthony Tupou underwent a similar surgery last October and believes it has revitalised him.
“I had been struggling for about three years with my right knee,” Tupou said. “The cartilage had worn away, so it was bone on bone.
“I got the procedure done and I can’t speak highly enough of it. I believe it has extended my playing career.”
Tupou said he receives a phone call every fortnight from current and retired players enquiring about the surgery.
Andrews explained that the technology could help anybody with arthritis or injury.
“The main component was not to get embryonic stem cells but to use a new source,” Andrews said.
“They are dormant stem cells in fat, and they are there in reserve in all living things with fat.
“They are there to be used in areas of need. Having it done in real time is very important.”
Ordinarily this type of rehabilitation on horses has been done by removing cells from bone marrow, which takes up to 21 days and yields between 100,000 to 400,000 cells.
Medivet’s procedure yields up to four billion cells.