Melbourne Cup hopeful Changingoftheguard has had his Cup preparation put on hold by trainer David Hayes after the imported galloper developed an abscess on his near hind hoof.
It is a major setback in the spring campaign for Hayes as the four-year-old bay horse was found to be lame when led out of his box and clearly unable to gallop yesterday.
Hayes rode a helicopter to Sandown to oversee the scheduled trackwork, but ended up merely inspecting the European stayer which he purchased just last month from Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Although the abscess itself is not serious, Changingoftheguard cannot train, work or gallop until it bursts. Hayes was to use yesterday’s trackwork to determine whether to aim the horse to the Emirates Melbourne Cup or the Mackinnon Stakes.
The abscess must burst and begin to heal by Monday, when the third declarations for the Melbourne Cup close at 10am. If it hasn’t then Changingoftheguard will be out of contention for the Flemington feature on November 3 having missed too much valuable work.