The death of the gorgeous and enormously talented 3YO colt Weatherly, euthanased after fracturing a sesamoid at Canterbury on 31 December, is deeply felt by his owner-breeder Mr Oussama Aboughazale and by everyone at Arrowfield, in particular his trainer Paul Messara, his devoted strapper & friend Leah Gavranich and the Arrowfield Training Centre team.
As Paul wrote on his Facebook page, “We loved him and he was the star of our team. Above all he was a beautiful animal that we will miss having around. Thank you to all the racing team and especially Leah who has gone above and beyond to care for Weatherly.”
Fate sometimes seems to decree that great gifts are accompanied by ill fortune and that is certainly how it feels with Weatherly, whose four-start career featured a breath-taking victory in last February’s VRC Talindert S. LR.
It looked like a step on the way to stardom, as success in the same race had been for Miss Finland, Star Witness and All Too Hard. A Group 2 third followed in Sydney behind Kiss And Make Up and subsequent Golden Slipper winner Capitalist, but it was the prospect of his 3YO career that really excited Paul Messara.
The colt’s preparation sharpened with trial wins at Scone in October and Rosehill in November, before his eagerly awaited return at Canterbury on the last day of the year. It all ended soon after the start of the 3YO 1100-metre contest when Weatherly faltered abruptly, and was restrained out of the race by jockey Andrew Adkins, with an injury severe enough to make euthanasia the only option.
Weatherly’s death deepens the loss of his sire Beneteau, also an exceptional, but unfulfilled racing talent who died almost exactly three years ago after only two seasons on Arrowfield’s roster. The nine stakeswinners and 11 other stakes performers he’s so far left from his 136 named foals make him an even bigger absence from the ranks of Australian stallions than the celebrated Star Watch (10 stakeswinners & four stakes performers from 119 named foals).
But that’s not the end of it. Weatherly’s dam Luna Bella (by Stravinsky), an unraced sister to Group 2 winner Hips Don’t Lie, died during foaling in September 2015. The foal, a filly by Redoute’s Choice (and so a three-quarter sister to Weatherly) was saved by the prompt action of Arrowfield’s veterinary team and Operations Manager David Morrissey, who took the filly to Scone Equine Hospital.
Mr Aboughazale’s loss is acute, because he bred and owned all these horses, Beneteau, Luna Bella & Weatherly and, in partnership with Arrowfield, has managed to breed only three foals from Slice Of Paradise since Beneteau’s birth in 2007. He will retain the Redoute’s Choice-Luna Bella filly, but will offer the Snitzel-Slice Of Paradise colt at this year’s Inglis Easter Sale.