Tragedy hits Hidden Law seconds after winning Chester’s feature race

Tragedy hits Hidden Law seconds after winning Chester's feature race
Hidden Law ridden by William Buick won the Boodles Chester Vase Stakes before fracturing its front leg - PA/Mike Egerton

Joy instantly turned to tragedy for potential Derby contender Hidden Law on Wednesday when he suffered a fatal injury soon after passing the winning post as an impressive victor of the feature Boodles Chester Vase Stakes.

Four days after the high of winning Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas with Notable Speech, trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey Wiliam Buick experienced emotion of a different kind. Their colt, who had left the Aidan O’Brien pair Agenda and Grosvenor Square standing in the latter part of Wednesday’s race beating them three lengths and seven and a half, would almost certainly have emerged from the Derby trial as favourite for Epsom. But that is immaterial now after he appeared to take a false step at the road crossing and fractured a front leg. He was subsequently put down.

The road crossing to the middle of the course car park is about 10 strides past the winning post and covered with a synthetic surface sprinkled with grass cuttings to make it indistinguishable from the turf. Hundreds of horses cross it every season both during a race and pulling up without incident and Appleby apportioned no blame to it.

“He just took a false step and it was the force of it,” he explained. “It was a freak accident. I’m very sorry for Sheikh Mohammed and team Godolphin. To have a horse like him coming through the ranks was very exciting.

He added: “I have to thank everyone at the racecourse, they’ve been very accommodating and were very quick with what they had to do. It’s a sad day. William is OK. He’s a bit shook up. All the way round the horse was on the correct lead, he picked up, quickened, crossed the road. It’s no fault of the track. It’s a great shame.”

Meanwhile, Ralph Beckett’s filly Forest Fairy, part-owned by Chester local Guy Myddelton, will head to Epsom a 10-1 shot for the Oaks after she battled hard to overhaul Port Fairy in the closing stages and win the Weatherbys’ E-Passport Cheshire Oaks by a head.

“She’s got to go to Epsom now,” said Beckett who has won the Classic twice with Look Here and Talent. “I think she’ll be suited to Epsom – she’s the right shape and make. We’re all very pleased.”

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