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Rialya

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Gay3 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 16 Dec 2014 at 6:12pm
What a tough, honest & gutsy horse, I'm so happy he survived that terrible breakdown in the B'rat Cup as I'd thought it was curtains for him Clap

Rialya ready for life after racing with Koumi

Owner Luke Koumi will be forever grateful each time he looks across the paddock at his best mate, Rialya.

The pair have been together since Rialya’s two-year-old days at trainer Lloyd Kennewell’s Morphettville stables where Koumi – seeking a greater understand of the industry – worked as private strapper to the talented gelding.

Rialya blossomed under Koumi’s careful eye; a victory in the Adelaide Cup of 2012 showcasing the son of Kempinsky’s tenacity to the racing world. The pair quickly developed an unbreakable bond, with one rarely sighted around the stables without the other.

So when Rialya suffered a life-threatening injury in last month’s Ballarat Cup, his 47th career start,  there was never any doubting Koumi’s course of action.

“I said straight away to the vets do whatever you need to do, whatever it takes,” Koumi, 67, said of the moment he first knew his mate was in trouble.

“There was never a thought of anything else. If he was able to be treated and recover then that was always going to happen, no matter the cost.”


  • Rialya fractured his right-hind cannon bone in the early moments of what would be his last racetrack outing in late November.

    But for the actions of raceday pilot, Michelle Payne, it may have been a different story for Rialya.

    The injury the gelding sustained spiralled up the seven-year-old’s cannon bone and would have been immediately felt by Payne in running. Her resulting actions were praised by Rialya’s veterinary surgeon, Dr Ian Fulton of Ballarat Equine Facility, who said but for her quick thinking Rialya may not be munching away at grass in a paddock today.

Rialya fractured his right-hind cannon bone in the early moments of what would be his last racetrack outing in late November.

But for the actions of raceday pilot, Michelle Payne, it may have been a different story for Rialya.

The injury the gelding sustained spiralled up the seven-year-old’s cannon bone and would have been immediately felt by Payne in running. Her resulting actions were praised by Rialya’s veterinary surgeon, Dr Ian Fulton of Ballarat Equine Facility, who said but for her quick thinking Rialya may not be munching away at grass in a paddock today.

“Michelle played a pivotal part, perhaps the most important role in Rialya’s case,” Fulton said.

“If that horse wasn’t pulled-up quickly and brought to a complete halt it could have proven disastrous. Similarly, if the race-day vets that attended to him hadn’t moved as quickly as they did to apply a salvage splint and the barrier attendants hadn’t keep it safe, relaxed and motionless; that could have also changed his fortunes. It was a case that required absolutely everything to go just right which Michelle was thankfully able to set in motion. ”

The operation required to repair the injured hock was as intricate as is undertaken in Australian practices. Fulton and his team operated on hands and knees in a makeshift sterile environment while Rialya remained standing, under sedation. 

The extremely tenuous nature of his injury was discovered once Rialya was given the appropriate level of anaesthetic pre-surgery. When comfortably numb, Rialya re-applied weight to his rear leg, causing even further damage to the injured cannon bone.

“The fracture gap increased 10-fold once he was anaesthetised and comfortable which certainly made the task-at-hand a little harder,” Fulton said.

“Thankfully, in surgery he was an absolute gem of a horse - he didn’t move once.  It’s an extremely difficult operation to undertake in which there is little to no room for error.”

Fortunately for Koumi and Rialya the operation went off without a hitch.


Rialya winning at Moonee Valley in 2011

It took Fulton and his team just four hours to complete the surgery, with rest and recovery now the final remedy required of Rialya before he can book a flight home to Adelaide.

Fulton reported that the horse was in good health following his ordeal and would have the opportunity to live a fulfilling life post-racing.

“If the fracture continues to repair well he’s going to have a long, happy life running around a paddock just being a normal horse,” he said.

“There’s no reason that he couldn’t be someone’s riding horse ors hack; somebody might even want to do dressage with him and he could be very happy doing that for the rest of his days.”

Koumi is just happy his good mate is close to returning to his Adelaide property.

“Honestly, I just can’t wait to get him back,” he said.

“Everyone at the stables been so worried and ringing about him, he’s a stable favourite. I’ve had about four or five girls ring up offering a home for him, even his trackwork rider Nicole has offered to take him on. That’s just how the racing industry is; we all worry about the horses no matter who owns it.”

Koumi was quick to praise the exceptional skill and care shown by raceday vets, attendants and surgeons who helped save his star galloper, yet refused to praised for his role in Rialya’s recovery.

“I’m no exception. I would do (what I did for Rialya) for any of my horses, no matter what they’d done,” he said.

“It’s just what you do. I know of lots of people in my position who have done the same thing. When you’re in this industry, you really know and love these horses and would do anything for them.”

And while Rialya’s future endeavours are up in the air for now, there’s one thing that Koumi knows for certain.

“He’ll be pampered for the rest of his life, that’s for sure. He’s such a kind horse, an absolute gem – he deserves it.” 

By Daniel Miles - @DanielMiles90


Experience is something you gain a few minutes after you could have used it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acacia alba Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2014 at 7:55pm
Lucky he has a loving owner.  Oh, and that terrible jockey they were all bagging, Michelle Payne. 
animals before people.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2014 at 8:10pm
Yeah, that crossed my mind too Wink
Experience is something you gain a few minutes after you could have used it!
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