(Photos : Veterinary News)
FINGERS CROSSED FOR STRONGHOLD
Stronghold was aptly named. Those that know him from our Stallion Days or visits to the barn, will know that this Timeform Champion of his year, was prevented from fulfilling his exceptional potential by a career-threatening injury sustained in the Challenge Stakes (Gr.2), towards the end of his four-year-old career.
That he came back at all to the races and ran the triple Group One winner, Red Evie to within a length on his racecourse return eleven months later, says something for the guts (not to mention the talent) of this warrior son of Danehill. But it was the severe injury he sustained getting up after arthroscopic surgery on his knee the year before, that almost put paid to his life.
As fortunate as we felt in being able to secure this horse when all the world was looking to buy him, but were reluctant to commit themselves to his stallion career because of the unknown prospects of his standing up, we have been the lucky beneficiaries of two seasons from him thus far.
However, as sound as he was this time last year, the signs during the last season were that the cartilage in his hind fetlock had all but disappeared, and that his joint was in the process of fusing, which left him decidedly painful at the walk.
A decision was taken at the end of the season to send him to Dr. Roy Gottschalk in Johannesburg for surgery, a procedure which a few years ago would’ve been exceptionally complicated. Pioneered by the likes of the famous American, Dr. Larry Bramlage and Professor Dean Richards (remembered for his work on the ill-fated Kentucky Derby standout, Barbaro), the procedure is not quite what you’d call routine these days, but it at least has a history of some notable successes.
Last Thursday, Stronghold underwent this procedure, and we’re happy to report that right now, fingers crossed, the reports are encouraging. Long live the “strong”.
Above are some x-rays of similar cases pre-op, six weeks post-op and ten weeks post-op.
P.S. We expect Stronghold, barring any interventions, to be back in full service this season.