By Nicholas Godfrey
UAE: Official confirmation that G1 winner Matterhorn lost his life in Thursday’s tragic incident on the Dubai Carnival card at Meydan was finally issued on Sunday [Feb 7] by stewards at the Emirates Racing Authority.
A prolific winner for former trainer Mark Johnston on the all-weather in Britain, the six-year-old son of Raven’s Pass landed a runaway victory in Round 3 of last year’s Al Maktoum Challenge for Salem Bin Ghadayer in Dubai.
Reappearing on Thursday for the first time since that success in the G3 Firebreak Stakes, Matterhorn dropped out just after halfway through the 1m contest, which was won by Secret Ambition.
In an incident not shown on UK TV screens, he collapsed through the rail and lost his jockey Mickael Barzalona, leaving onlookers at Meydan fearing the worst.
Sources in Dubai suggested the horse had suffered a heart attack, and news of his tragic demise was finally issued in Sunday’s stewards’ report.
“Commenced to weaken from the 800 metres before collapsing near the 600 metres, dislodging the rider,” said the report.
“Matterhorn was attended by the veterinary officer, however was deceased shortly after the incident. A postmortem will be carried out to determine the cause of death.
“When questioned the rider advised the Matterhorn never travelled well throughout and approaching the 600 metres felt as if he had gone amiss.”
Considered a leading contender for this year’s Dubai World Cup, Matterhorn’s career record was nine wins from 23 starts. Barzalona was stood down from his last two rides after the fall.