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Cru Bourgeois’ left zygomatic arch is not visible on ultrasound due to soft tissue swelling and air pockets.

Ultrasound too murky but vets hoping not to have to operate on Cru Bourgeois

Singapore vets suspect Cru Bourgeois has fractured a bone in his head but will wait 48 hours before deciding whether he needs surgery.

Lincoln Farms’ promising galloper was fully checked out yesterday after an incident in the starting stalls on Sunday when he reared and whacked his head but was still allowed to run without being vetted.

How Cru Bourgeois’ undamaged right zygomatic arch looked on ultrasound. Compare it with how his left eye looks in the main image.How Cru Bourgeois’ undamaged right zygomatic arch looked on ultrasound. Compare it with how his left eye looks in the main image.X-rays of Cru Bourgeois suggest the horse may have a depression fracture of the zygomatic arch, an area just above his left eye.

Swelling and air pockets prevented the orbital area from being seen at all on ultrasound.

But vets have decided to wait in the hope the swelling reduces before committing to surgery to fix the dislocated area and remove any bone fragments.

Most minimally displaced orbital fractures heal without surgery but in more extreme cases fixation with plates is needed.

Trainer Stephen Gray says there’s no doubt the horse is uncomfortable.

“We just need to give him a few days to see how it settles down as I’m not keen to do surgery unless we have to.’’

Gray says the circumstances around why Cru Bourgeois was not taken out of the gates and checked has caused quite a controversy in Singapore and is now the subject of an internal investigation led by chief steward Terry Bailey.

The zygomatic arch, one of the most exposed areas of the head, just above the eye, is prone to injury.The zygomatic arch, one of the most exposed areas of the head, just above the eye, is prone to injury.While the horse was the author of his own injury, Gray says he is sure he would have been scratched had he been backed out of the gates and examined. Rider Vlad Duric reported seeing blood coming out of his nostril.

It was not fair to expect the horse to race and his scratching would have saved punters a lot of money as he was a hot favourite, says Gray.

“Mistakes happen and this is a rare mistake. I have total respect for the head starter but I feel maybe a certain vet was not focussed to make the right call.

“Hopefully this sort of thing doesn’t happen again after the findings of the inquiry.’’

Gray says he believes Cru Bourgeois, often a tough nut, tried to anticipate the start, got it wrong, then dived up and struck his head.

“He is getting well looked after and, unless it is worse than we think, he should heal quickly.

“He is a lovely little horse and can gallop, as we have seen, so I hope it comes right quickly.’’

Race Images - Gallops