After racehorse, Il Divo, developed a spiral fracture in his leg following a race at Pakenham in Regional Victoria in April, many thought that the horse would have to be euthanised.
Despite finishing the race in fourth, post-race scans confirmed that the grey gelding had developed a major fracture in his leg.
It is unknown what caused the fracture, but Il Divo was required to get life-saving surgery, with ten screws being inserted into his leg.
Trainer Grahame Begg explained how the injury to Il Divo came as a shock.
“He tried hard and ran really well. Within ten minutes I was getting all these phone calls saying the horse had pulled up lame after the race,” Grahame said.
“The vets felt that the horse might have sustained quite a significant injury.
“Unfortunately, being a night meeting, we couldn’t get him to a veterinary hospital for an x-ray and didn’t know the extent of his injury.
“The next morning it was revealed that he had a spiral fracture running from his joint just below his knee.”
Although a catastrophic injury for a horse, Grahame and his team wanted to save Il Divo, as they felt they owed it to him.
“We were under no illusions that it was going to be a risky surgery. They do the normal procedure of laying them down but it’s when they get up and put pressure on their leg that they can shatter it,” Grahame continued.
“They did the surgery standing up in a harness and he was successfully operated on.
“After the surgery, it was always going to be a long period of recuperation.
“My father owned the horse, bred the horse, so he was of the means that he was able to afford to go down that path and it’s been fantastic because we’ve had a great out-come.”
After five months of recovery, two of which in a rehabilitation facility in Goulburn, Il Divo will live out his days on his father, Neville Begg’s, paddock in Cootamundra.
Il Divo won five races from 38 starts, but due to the extent of the injuries will never race again.
His vet bills are estimated to be roughly $50,000, a cost that was justified for Grahame.
“We wanted to give him that chance of being able to sur-vive and live a fruitful life,” he said.
“He was no star, don’t get me wrong, but he was a good, honest horse.”