Former star Tasmanian juvenile Pateena Arena has died of unknown causes only a couple of weeks after being retired to stud.
Her trainer and part-owner Bill Ryan said the five-year-old mare had been found dead in her paddock at Armidale Stud on Saturday with no obvious injuries.
We don't know what happened - there were no marks on her and no signs of obvious distress that might suggest she had colic.Trainer and co-owner Bill Ryan
"We don't know what happened - there were no marks on her and no signs of obvious distress that might suggest she had colic," Ryan said.
"A snake bite is a possibility or it may have been an asthma attack.
"We didn't bother with an autopsy because there was no point. She wasn't insured."
Pateena Arena was Tasmania's two-year-old of the year in 2016-17 after completing the rich Gold Sovereign - Elwick Stakes double.
She won the 1000 Guineas the following season and ran fourth in the Tasmanian Oaks.
However Ryan said the mare "didn't come up" last season and was ultimately found to have a lung infection.
"We gave her a decent spell and she seemed OK," the trainer said.
"But after her most recent trial she pulled up distressed and was found to have mucus on her lungs.
"We thought she had another infection but she was diagnosed as asthmatic so we knew it was time to pull the pin. You can't run if you can't breath.
"We decided to retire her to stud and most of her owners chose to stay involved, which was good."
Pateena Arena was waiting to be served by Alpine Eagle when she died.
"It was very sad - we were all looking forward to racing her progeny," Ryan said.
MIXED FORTUNES FOR LUKE CURRIE
Former Tasmanian jockey Luke Currie, who rode Pateena Arena to her two biggest wins, will miss two group 1 rides at Caulfield on Saturday due to suspension.
Currie, who is Bill Ryan's godson, was suspended for eight meetings for his winning ride on Sunlight in last Saturday's Gilgai Stakes at Flemington.
He was to have ridden Lyre in this week's Thousand Guineas and Mahamedeis in the Toorak Handicap.
However he will be back in time to ride Sunlight in the $14 million The Everest at Randwick on Saturday week.
JOCKEY NUMBERS ON THE EDGE
The return to turf track racing at Mowbray on Saturday night has produced bigger fields - and provided a reminder that the state is precariously situated when it comes to jockey numbers.
There are two fields with 14 runners but, after the declaration of riders on Wednesday, there were only 13 jockeys with rides at the meeting.
And, that includes four from interstate.
It should be easier to attract "fly-ins" when racing returns to Wednesday nights but, the fact remains, the industry is living on the edge.
The situation would soon become dire if there were multiple injuries or suspensions.
Meanwhile, the Tasmanian Turf Club meeting programmed for Wednesday October 23 has been moved to Friday October 25.
It will remain a night fixture with Sky 1 coverage and will also be featured on the Sky Thoroughbred Central channel with pre and post-race interviews.
Thoroughbred Central coverage would not have been available on the Wednesday due to the station's other commitments.
The move should have promotional and financial benefits as there will be a big Sky audience on the Friday for Manikato Stakes night at Moonee Valley.
ASHWOOD BAN OVERTURNED
Brighton reinsman Rod Ashwood has won his appeal against a four-month suspension.
Stewards suspended Ashwood over his drive on Sutter Star in the Globe Derby Prelude at Mowbray on June 2.
He was found guilty of the serious charge of unlawfully disadvantaging another runner during the race.
The particulars of the charge were that he deliberately caused interference to the favourite Sunny Sanz.
The Appeal Board's findings noted that Sutter's Star stablemate Resurgent Storm had been second favourite for the race.
However the board said it could not be reasonably satisfied that Ashwood had deliberately shifted up the track on Sutter Star with the intention of causing interference to Sunny Sanz.
The board said that it did have the power to refer the case back to the stewards for re-hearing to determine whether Ashwood should be dealt with under a lesser charge such as careless driving.
However, given that he did not seek a stay as he was sidelined by injury and the period of the suspension had almost expired, it did not consider that would be fair under the circumstances
Sunny Sanz won the race in question, with Resurgent Storm and Sutter Star both unplaced.
DUAL ACCEPTORS SAVE DEVONPORT
A large number of dual acceptors has enabled the Devonport Harness Racing Club to have six capacity fields for its opening meeting of the season on Friday night.
Hobart races on Sunday night and there are 31 horses accepted for both meetings.
The 4YO and older maiden at Devonport had to be deleted and another race faced a similar fate until nominations were extended.
Ben Yole again came to the rescue with 28 of the 63 entries.