Tragedy strikes Hidden Law following Chester Vase victory

Charlie Appleby-trained horse suffers a fatal injury soon after passing the winning post

Joy for Charlie Appleby was short-lived at Chester when Hidden Law tragically suffered a fatal injury soon after passing the winning post as an impressive victor of the feature Boodles Chester Vase Stakes.

The Godolphin-owned son of Dubawi was sent off at 9-4 on the Roodee on the back of a taking victory at Newbury last month and quickened up smartly in the hands of William Buick to scoot three-lengths clear of the enterprisingly-ridden gamble of the race, Aidan O’Brien’s Agenda, in the closing stages.

It was a performance that would have put Hidden Law into the Betfred Derby reckoning but dreams of Epsom glory quickly evaporated as the colt took a false step shortly after the line in the most devastating postscript to one of the key trials for the premier Classic.

Appleby said: “He fractured his leg, unfortunately. He passed the line all okay and then when he’s crossed the road, he’s took a false step on it and he’s come down on it basically.


“It’s one of those very freak accidents. Unfortunately, we can only go on what we’ve seen and won’t see again for the future, it’s very disappointing.

“Most importantly, I feel so sorry for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Team Godolphin. To have a horse like him potentially coming through the ranks was exciting for everybody. It’s a sad day.

“I have to thank everybody here at the course, they’ve been very accommodating and were very speedy in what they’ve done. I feel sorry for Wayne, the groom, and all the staff back at Moulton Paddocks, who have done so much work with this horse.

“Will got up fine, which is the most important thing. He’s a bit shook from it because it’s not a nice thing to happen.”

Connections of runner-up Agenda, partnered by Tom Marquand due to travel problems preventing Dylan Browne McMonagle from taking the ride, and third-placed stablemate Grosvenor Square were quick to offer their sympathies.

Coolmore representative Paul Smith said: “It’s a tough day after what happened to the winner. I was standing next to Charlie just before the race and we were talking about our horses in it and it’s tough because you feel for their team. We’re competitors, but we travel together and we need each other.

“Tom was very happy with his horse, he galloped to the line well. I think both of ours are going to make nice middle-distance horses going forward.”

Chester chief executive Louise Stewart commented on Hidden Law’s sad death: “Our thoughts and minds are with the connections of the horse affected. It’s not what we want to happen.

“Just to reiterate, these are elite athletes and unfortunately this sometimes happens in our sport. None of us like it and we’re constantly working to try and eradicate it.

“We’ll look at what happened here and I’d like to thank the trainers for their support.”