Connections celebrate with Heartbreak City after an heroic effort in the 2016 Melbourne Cup (Image: Racing Photos)
A devastated Darren Dance has paid tribute to 2016 Emirates Melbourne Cup runner-up Heartbreak City who was euthanised in Ireland on Saturday after sustaining an injury in a trackwork gallop.
Dance, whose Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock syndicate raced the seven-year-old in partnership with Irish interests, confirmed the Tony Martin-trained galloper had died after an accident at The Curragh.
“He was down to run next week so Tony took him to The Curragh for a workout and he shattered the leg in the gallop and had to be put down,” Dance said.
“It’s obviously not what you want to hear at 3am when I got the call.
“It’s just so tragic because he was such a lovely, quiet animal and he gave us so much joy over the spring.”
A six-time winner from 25 career starts, Heartbreak City won last year’s Ebor Handicap (2800m) at York before he and Joao Moreira were narrowly denied by Almandin in the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington in November.
Despite his Flemington defeat, connections were enthused with the performance and part-owner Aidan Shiels created headlines around the world courtesy of his exuberant post-race interview with Seven Racing’s Neil Kearney.
While a lifetime in racing has prepared Dance well for the tragedy that can accompany owning any animal, he said it was difficult to come to grips with the death of a horse that had endeared himself to connections with his gritty determination on the racetrack.
“When you love horses, you feel it because they are part of the family,” he said.
“The worst thing is ringing up the other owners because all of them are dreadfully upset by the news but we are just grateful for the time we had with him.”
Heartbreak City was on track to return to Melbourne for a second tilt at the Cup, despite an unplaced run in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup (3200m) at Meydan in March.