When 2-year-old Thoroughbred filly Velvet Vision fractured her skull in an accident in January 2017, her future looked bleak and nobody expected her to recover to win a race just over a year later.
Velvet Vision’s owner-breeder Richard Marriott, whose horses run under the Sarabex banner, and her trainer Mark Tompkins both thought a great deal of the filly who had been foaled at Dullingham Park Stud. She was referred to senior surgeon Richard Payne at the hospital. Richard explained: “Velvet Vision had a nasty fracture to the back of her skull. The fractured infected bone required surgical removal following a CT scan and the filly subsequently required a huge amount of nursing care and management.”
Velvet Vision was in hospital for approximately three weeks initially and although her initial progress was good, there were continued signs of low-grade infection, requiring further hospitalisation treatment in late May/early June. The filly then returned to Mark’s yard, where he diligently supervised the filly’s care and rehabilitation. Richard said: “We were unsure whether the filly would make a full recovery at that stage, but in our view there was no reason to think that she might not.” Thankfully, over the coming months with patient and careful management she has made a good recovery and has fully healed.
Naturally her accident and long road to recovery delayed her introduction to the racecourse, but having returned to full training she is proving to be rather talented. Now a 3-year-old, she has grown, strengthened up and to date has had two runs, finishing second on her racecourse debut and on 20th March she won her first race at Newcastle under Paul Mulrennan.
Owner Richard, who has had racehorses under the Sarabex banner in the care of Mark Tompkins for many years, said: “It has been a very emotional 12 months. Without Richard Payne’s surgical skills and the outstanding level of care given to Velvet Vision, first by the team at Rossdales and then by Mark and his wife when she returned home, we would not be in this position today. When the accident happened, we had very low expectations of her making a good recovery, so for her to have won for us is magical.”
A delighted Mark said: “It has been a long road to where we are now. I would like to thank all of those involved in her care at Rossdales, her owner Richard for his support and commitment to bringing Velvet Vision back to full health, and the members of my team who have helped oversee her recovery and made this win possible. We’re looking forward to the future now.”
Images: Velvet Vision in training courtesy of Mark Tompkins.
CT images: The first two from the left are three-dimensional reconstructed images of the occiput (the back of the skull). The arrows point to a defect in the bone caused by bone lysis (breakdown) at the site of the nuchal ligament attachment. The ligament cannot be visualised. The image on the right is a sagittal (vertical plane) reformatted image showing the same defect.
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