One of racing’s great feelgood stories had a tragic end on Tuesday when Lady Kaya, the pride and joy of Sheila Lavery’s small yard in Ireland, could not be saved after breaking her leg in a workout at the Curragh.
The filly was having a workout, under regular rider Robbie Colgan, before her intended run in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot next week when the accident occurred.
“She was having her final piece up the Curragh on the Old Vic – she was going beautifully and Robbie just heard a bang,” said Lavery. “She shattered her hind leg. She was the soundest filly I’ve ever had.”
The trainer added nothing could be done to save her.
“We boxed her off the gallops, brought her to Anglesey Lodge – who X-rayed her but said she couldn’t be saved, and they put her down.
Lady Kaya wins on her return in April
“Heartbroken. In fact that doesn’t describe the feeling of everybody here. She was owned by my niece, Joanna, who was there this morning. We all went to the clinic with her.”
From humble beginnings, Lady Kaya flew the flag for underdogs in the sport and had been a leading hope for Royal Ascot next week after finishing runner-up in the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket last month.
The filly had taken Lavery and her connections to places they did not expect to visit and rubbed shoulders with the best that Ballydoyle, Godolphin and company had to offer.
Lady Kaya was led out unsold at the yearling sales and as a consequence, the filly everybody ignored was owned by the trainer’s niece.
Lady Kaya chased home Hermosa in the 1000 Guineas last month
She held her own in top company as a juvenile, finishing runner-up in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh after previously beating Pink Dogwood by ten lengths in a maiden at the ame track.
The daughter of Dandy Man won a Group Three race at Leopardstown on her return in April before beating all bar Hermosa at Newmarket.
“I think she is a wonderful story for racing,” Lavery had said in the build-up to the 1000 Guineas. “She was very inexpensive and it shows that there is a dream out there for everyone, everyone can buy the dream.”
Lady Kaya won two of her seven races and won £226,000 in prize-money.