Champion pacer James Matthew has lost his battle against Colitis X and has died this morning at the Belvoir Equine Clinic in West Swan.
James Matthew had been at the veterinary clinic for more than a week. Originally, he was treated for a viral infection which has developed into the serious intestinal infection.
Colitis X is a peracute, fatal disease of horses and is characterized by the sudden onset of profuse, watery diarrhea and development of hypovolemic shock. Many affected horses have a history of stress. The cause of colitis-X is unknown, although multiple causes have been proposed, including peracute salmonellosis, clostridial enterocolitis, and endotoxemia.
Bred by Royalstar Farm, Bullsbrook, the rangy gelding captured the imagination of Perth harness racing fans with his brilliance.
James Matthew was purchased for only $7500 at the 2007 Gloucester Standardbreds Perth Yearling Sale, and was trained throughout his illustrious career by Peter Anderson and driven by Morgan Woodley.
He won at each of his first ten starts, with an average winning margin of 16.8 metres. His victories as a two-year-old included the Champagne Classic, the Pearl Classic and the Sires Series final.
His first defeat came at his 11th appearance, his final run as a two-year-old, when he had a very tough run early and then pulled hard in front before being beaten by a nose in the final stride by Aussie Reactor in the $125,000 Golden Slipper Stakes at Gloucester Park last July.
His losing margin was 1/100th of a second and he finished his remarkable two-year-old campaign with ten wins and a second for earnings of $212,035.
He was successful at his first two starts as a three-year-old, at Bunbury and Gloucester Park last December before being beaten from wide barriers at his next four starts. James Matthew had a career record of 17 starts for 12 wins and three seconds and stakes of $240,981.
A request has been made of behalf of the gelding’s connections that they not be contacted in the short term as they are too upset to discuss the loss of their champion.