Steel Bull has had three teeth removed after a bizarre incident in the stalls that ruined his chances in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.
The Clodovil colt banged his mouth after loading and it was evident something was amiss with the hitherto unbeaten juvenile as he faded tamely to finish seventh behind impressive victor Lucky Vega.
Subsequent still footage showed blood streaming from his mouth afterwards, with trainer Michael O’Callaghan revealing that his Group 2 winner had broken some teeth.
It was unfortunate for the horse as well as O’Callaghan and jockey Leigh Roche, who were well fancied to garner their maiden top-tier triumphs, especially with Steel Bull carrying the colours of Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez for the first time after a private sale.
But the Tralee-born Curragh-based trainer was remarkably stoic about the misfortune, declaring himself relieved that his stable star had not suffered an even more severe injury. He is confident that Steel Bull will make a full recovery and give a true showing of his ability before the year is out.
“Steel Bull banged his head in the stalls and broke three front teeth” said O’Callaghan on Monday evening. “Horses’ teeth are very hard, so he must have hit the stalls with some force to break them and I’d imagine he was seeing stars.
“He ran a very good race considering, so we have to put a line through the result.
“He had the three teeth removed today by the vet, Pat O’Sullivan from Troytown GreyAbbey. He will be fine in a few days and will have a little break now and will then be aimed at the Flying Childers at Doncaster in September.”