Snake ends Destiny's run
by GREG WHITE
FOR trainer Gordon Yorke and connections of Natural Destiny, there will always be temptation to ponder what might have been.
But as someone not noted for lingering on the past, the retirement of his grey gladiator on Friday was quickly forgotten when rising star Nuclear Medicine won his first city race at Doomben on Saturday.
It can now be revealed that Yorke confided in a Coffs Coast Advocate reporter back in February as to the reasons why he was taking Natural Destiny out of training and sending him to Randwick Equine Centre where a 'mystery leg injury' was to be investigated.
"I think a snake came out of the bush behind the stable and bit the horse but can you keep that under your hat for the moment?" he asked at the time.
"Why I'm pretty sure it was a snake is the dog got sick with the same symptoms and he's doing his best to die on me.
"Once they take samples in Sydney I'm tipping they find traces of the venom."
The dog did pass away later and while no formal finding was made that a snake caused the swelling in the joint, the horse is so valuable as a stud prospect the decision was made to retire him.
While the trainer may be hiding his disappointment, it won't stop racing fans wondering how far the son of champion middle-distance galloper Naturalism could have gone had injury and the cursed equine influenza virus not curtailed his career.
Intelligent, sociable and with no vices considering he was a stallion, Natural Destiny was close to a family pet than a racing animal as without a bridle he followed Yorke, track rider Yasi Fujimoto and race jockey Shane Treweek around the stable.
The horse showed promise from the day he ran his rivals ragged at his first start on Coffs Harbour Gold Cup Day in 2005.
A close fourth behind Dance Hero in the 2006 Group One Salinger Stakes down the straight six at Flemington proved he had quality, confirmed when he became the first horse to win the Brisbane Summer 'Triple Crown'.
Natural Destiny may have always raced in the shadow of that other local equine superstar Takeover Target but the shadow was long and all class.
From 15 starts he won 10 races and $737,550 in prize money.
If Saturday's winner Nuclear Medicine achieves a fraction of that, all will be well with the world.