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Soccer

St Leger star Eldar Eldarov may be forced to retire

A neck injury sustained in the stalls at the Dubai World Cup may have ended dual St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov's race career.

The Roger Varian-trained five-year-old was due to contest the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan on Saturday to kick off his 2024 campaign after landing the Irish St Leger on his final run last season.

He was loaded into the stalls but another horse kicked out and unsettled him, causing him to rear up and hit his head before being withdrawn from the contest.

The son of Dubawi was sent to the local equine hospital and later treated by two specialist vets who flew over from America at the request of owner Shaikh Khalid.

Eldar Eldarov has undergone an operation on a fracture to his neck and though he is not out of the woods, there are encouraging signs of his recovery after the procedure.

“He had an operation on Tuesday to stabilise a fracture in his neck, initially when he was in that post-operative phase, he had a rough time of things but he’s making progress now,” said Chris Wall, racing manager for Shaikh Khalid’s organisation.

“It will be small steps, he’s got a long way to go but the future is looking brighter than it did 48 hours ago.

“He’s in good hands in the equine hospital in Dubai, they’ve done a very good job so far.

“We flew in two vets from America who said they thought they’d be able to do something for him and they have.

“We are thankful and grateful to them, and to Shaikh Khalid for insisting that we left no stone unturned to try to give the horse a future.

“He still has quite a long way to go, he’s by no means in the clear yet, but the progress report this morning (Wednesday) was positive and he’s moving in the right direction.”

Eldar Eldarov’s future will either be at stud or in complete retirement, depending on how he fares in his recuperation.

“I think we can safely say he won’t be returning to racing, it’s now a question of whether he can do a stud job or whether he just has a happy retirement somewhere,” said Wall.

“We’ll have to see, that all depends on how his recovery goes and it’s a bit early to say for certain.”

 

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