Cheltenham head vet Liam Kearns proud to see Edwulf make glorious comeback

Mon 5 Feb 2018

Edwulf's amazing victory in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown on Sunday was due in no small way to the expertise of the veterinary and support staff at Cheltenham who all helped save the horse at last year's Festival.

Edwulf collapsed after the final fence in the JT McNamara National Hunt Chase and there were fears he might die.

He was down for more than an hour, which in itself is extremely unusual and significantly reduces the odds of survival.

The final race on the card was also delayed by 10 minutes in the bid to save Edwulf's life.

However, the persistence of Cheltenham racecourse head vet Liam Kearns and his team paid off as Edwulf eventually responded to treatment on course before being taken to Three Counties Equine Hospital, near Tewkesbury, with a police escort.

Remarkably, Edwulf was well enough to travel go back home to Ireland where he continued his convalescence at owner JP McManus' Martinstown Stud in Limerick before going back into training at Joseph O'Brien's stable in County Kilkenny and a highly unlikely return to the racecourse.

Kearns told Press Association Sport: "It was fantastic to see.

"He had a long period of recumbency at the racecourse and then recovered quite well in the following days. Obviously he would have been very well looked after by Mr McManus' team through the summer.

"To see him come back from where he was and do the business in such a big race is fantastic.

"It was extraordinary in that most horses who are down for that length of time at a racecourse situation are usually after a fall or brought down by another horse or whatever.

"In this case that didn't happen. He was in a challenging position in the race and then he had his episode and collapsed.

"Then he was down for a long time before he responded to treatment and got up and was very uncoordinated for quite a while.

"We are very lucky at Cheltenham with the board we have, the racecourse management, the clerk of the course and the ground staff that help us because we needed to move him off the course into a quieter space for part of that treatment time.

"We were afforded all the facilities we needed to do the job to the best of our ability and it's great when it all works out well like this."

Kearns would now love to see Edwulf return to Cheltenham next month for the most prestigious race of them all, the Timico Gold Cup.

"It would be fantastic to see him come back for the Gold Cup," he said.

"He's done so incredibly well so far and anything is possible after that performance."

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