©Healy Racing Photos
Leading Champion Hurdle contender Go Native sustained fatal injuries when breaking his leg in a routine canter in front of trainer Noel Meade on Friday morning.
Sent off favourite for the 2011 Champion Hurdle, Go Native sustained an injury in that race which forced him off the track for 18 months but was nursed back to health by his syndicate of owners and returned with a win on the Flat at Galway last month.
He was in the process of giving Hurricane Fly a scare when falling at the final flight in Punchestown's Morgiana Hurdle last Sunday, leaving connections to hope that he might again be on course for major honours later this season.
"We're all in a state of shock at the moment," said Meade.
"He was just doing a very steady canter. I was stood about 100 yards away from him and all of a sudden I heard this almighty crack and he'd somehow broken his leg above the hock.
"I don't know why these things happen. He was the first one to come up the straight gallop after it had been harrowed.
"We are all completely devastated. It's cruel blow for his owners and everyone in the yard."