Mahler Mission fell at the penultimate hurdle during the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham on Tuesday afternoon – leaving the owners feeling both worried and heartbroken.
The seven-year-old was battling Bellatrixsa to the post out in front but a misjudgement at the second to last jump allowed favourite Gaillard Du Mesnil to come through from third.
Trained by John McConnell, the 13/2 gelding had a lead of six lengths at one point but it all came crashing down – with the horse left without injuries, most importantly.
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Racing TV showed the moment that the owners watched the horse fall after such a positive start to the race, left clutching their faces in agony.
One social media user said: "My exact reaction when he fell." With another simply posting a heart-break emoji with punters left tearing up their betting slips.
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With Gaillard Du Mesnil taking the victory, Chemical Energy came in second with Mister Coffey in third.
Sadly, Malinello who fell in the last race of the day was confirmed dead by the festival.
A racecourse spokesperson later confirmed: "Sadly Malinello sustained an injury in the final race of the day.
"He was attended to by the on-course veterinary team and assessed immediately, but very sadly passed away. Our thoughts are with all his connections."
Earlier in the day there was a fitting farewell to Honeysuckle, who prevailed in the Mares' Hurdle in her final race before retirement.
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