A racehorse who was brought back from the brink of death less than a year ago took a fairytale win in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.
Edwulf, ridden by Derek O’Connor, claimed victory by a neck ahead of Outlander and Jack Kennedy on 4 February.
The nine-year-old gelding, by Kayf Tara, set off as the 33-1 outsider but found some extra reserves in the closing stretches to give trainer Joseph O’Brien his first Grade One jumps winner.
The story is remarkable as just over 10 months ago vets battled for more than an hour to save Edwulf’s life.
“Very, very special day today,” said Joseph.
“For Edwulf to do that after the road he has travelled since Cheltenham last year is genuinely remarkable.
“Thank you so much to everyone that played a role along the way, from the vets to all the team involved here. We won’t forget this one.”
Edwulf collapsed after the last fence in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on 14 March 2017.
The horse’s heart went into a chaotic rhythm and he started fitting. Vets were able to administer a sedative and painkillers to help take his heart back into a normal rhythm.
However the horse made no attempt to stand and was becoming increasingly less responsive.
With the help of Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, Edwulf was moved to the side of the course as there was still one race left to run.
Vets continued to work on him and he gradually made his way to his feet.
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In total, he was down for about an hour and 10 minutes before he was able to be led into a horse ambulance and was given a police escort to the Three Counties Equine Hospital.
Liam Kearns, Cheltenham’s head vet, told The Times last year that it was the longest he had ever seen a horse down who then survived.
“The vets treating him had more than 150 years’ collective experience and none of us has witnessed anything like that,” he said.
Don’t miss this week’s issue of Horse & Hound — out Thursday, 8 February — for the full report from Leopardstown, plus action from Aintree and Wetherby