Bendigo mare Super Girl tragically lost her life after suffering a serious leg injury in Wednesday's Apiam Bendigo Cup.
The mare suffered the injury to her leg 400m after the start of the 2400m race and was pulled up out of the race.
After being treated by vet staff on the track, Super Girl was rushed to the Bendigo Equine Centre across the road from the track, but the injury was too severe and the mare passed away.
A short time after the mare's death, a shattered trainer Josh Julius made it back to the track to watch his gelding Highclass Harry win a $100,000 race on his home track.
The victory meant plenty to Julius, but the passing of his stable star Super Girl was at the forefront of his thoughts.
"We're pretty flat. (Owners) Jim and Lyn (Middlemis) at home are obviously upset,'' an emotional Julius said on racing.com.
"She's obviously been a massive asset to our stable and I can't thank Jim and Lyn enough or their support and, hopefully, we can get one just as good.
"Whether one means as much as she did, we'll wait and see. Can be pretty hard at times, racing, but glad (jockey) Jordie (Childs) is ok, obviously.
"It'll be a sombre few beers tonight. A small stable like us, everyone knows them (horses) backwards. Even all the people that have had something to do with the stable along the way over the last couple of years, no doubt they're all feeling it as well."
Super Girl raced 24 times for four wins and eight placings. She earned $170,335 in prizemoney.
Julius said Super Girl had established a big following in Bendigo and the support he'd received from the community was overwhleming.
"The Bendigo community has been terrific. I've had phones 'blowing up'. Everyone has shown support, got behind us, but unfortunately that's racing."
Prior to winning the final heat, Highclass Harry had already qualified for the $500,000 final of the Melbourne Cup Country Challenge Series at Flemington next Thursday.
The gelding sped straight to the front in the 1400m event and the quality field behind him couldn't catch him.
"He certainly is brave,'' Julius said of Highclass Harry.
"I had a feeling that he'd do that after what just happened (with Super Girl). Honestly, he's just a superstar. He lives next to the mare at home.
"He won't be calling out to her tonight when he gets home, unfortunately, but gee, that means the world. That is unbelievable."
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