NEWMARKET, England // Be Ready has been referred to Celia Marr, a noted equine heart specialist, after his disappointing run in the Craven Stakes on Thursday.
The Godolphin colt finished last in his first start of the season. Halfway through the Group 3 contest, jockey Silvestre De Sousa was looking down and around at his mount before he nursed him through the final stages of the seven-furlong race.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor had no explanation for the poor performance in the ensuing stewards' enquiry, and the colt was tested. After a veterinary examination, it was found that the son of New Approach, the 2008 English Derby winner, had an atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation is an irregularity of the heart’s rhythm, which impairs athletic performance and is a fairly regular occurrence. Often, horses can right the irregularity themselves, but occasionally drugs are required to assist their convalescence.
By Friday morning, Be Ready’s cardiac rhythm had returned to normal and he was set to undergo heart scans and other tests late in the afternoon.
Marr is a high-profile specialist, having nursed back to the racetrack several leading National Hunt horses in Britain in recent years. Denman, a Gold Cup-winning gelding, suffered the same condition in 2008 but was fit to run a year later, although the horse won only one of his following 10 races.
More recently, Marr helped Sprinter Sacre, the highest-rated National Hunt horse in training, to be in a condition to race after he was diagnosed with the same problem in December.
Sprinter Sacre was fitted with a heart-rate monitor, which relayed information to Marr during morning work, but the horse just missed his intended target of the Cheltenham Festival in March.
It suggests it could be some time before spectators see Be Ready once more.
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