Connections of multiple Group 1 winner Luckygray scratched the star from Saturday’s Belmont Sprint 2014 field after they injured their leg this week.
There are just 10 official acceptors for this year’s $125,000 Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m), running as Belmont Park Race 7 at 3:52pm (local), where Luckygray was originally assigned the 61kg top-weight.
Two horses share the new 58kg top-weight after weights were raised four kilos following the non-acceptance of Trevor Andrews’ Bradbury’s Luck six-year-old Luckygray and Magnifisio (55.5kg) who was the only other entry weighted above the minimum.
Luckygray was treated with anti-inflammatories and antibiotics by a vet after he got away from his handler at the Ascot equine pool and injured their nearside fore and offside hind leg, skin torn from both areas.
“They are superficial wounds, but he had to get treated … so he could not have raced on Saturday,” Andrews told The West Australian.
The champion grey, dual winner of the Railway Stakes, returned to racing on May 17 at Belmont when fourth behind Magnifisio in the Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m).
They carried 58.5kg that day under weight-for-age conditions and were beaten under half a length.
While the step up to 1400m second-up for the Belmont Sprit would certainly suit Luckygray, who won the race two years ago under the preparation of former trainer Gino Poletti, Andrews won’t be able to give them the chance to add to their $2.58 million in prize money earned.
The 29-start galloper will also now miss the Hyperion Stakes over 1600m and the Strickland Stakes over 2000m next month because of the setback.
“He had galloped super at Ascot this morning,” Andrews said yesterday.
“It is disappointing because missing the Belmont Sprint will mean he will have to miss those other races.
“His welfare comes foremost and he can go out in a few weeks for a spell and come back for the spring.”
Also out of Belmont Sprint contention and waiting for a spring return is the Bruce Watkins and Gary Hitchcock co-trained Kerrific who, after a disappointing Roma Cup eighth, won’t defend their title.
“He did not pull up too well after the Roma Cup and we were not happy with his work,” Watkins said.
“He has not had a decent break for a while and can now go out for nine or 10 weeks and come back for the spring.”
Now heading the field and weights are the Fred Kersley-trained Grand Nirvana and Adam Durrant’s Ranger with 58kg each, both coming off unplaced Roma Cup runs having finished ninth and sixth respectively.
While Roma Cup winner Magnifisio is not backing-up here, runner-up Elite Belle will and looks the one most likely for the Belmont Sprint.
Grant Williams’ smart Canny Lad mare is second-up here after going down just a quarter length when resuming in the Roma Cup at the same track.
Her run before that produced career win number five at Ascot in the Listed La Trice Stakes (1800m) indicating she’ll improve on the Roma Cup when back up to 1400m on the weekend.
Further improving the five-year-old’s claims are Elite Belle’s ideal barrier one draw, jockey William Pike staying on for the ride where she gets in on the 54kg minimum.
Roma Cup third placed Checkpoint also runs on Saturday looking to reenter the winners’ stall for the first time since New Year’s Day when winning over 1200m at Ascot.
They’ve been thereabouts in the Group Perth races since then including a second to Conservatorium in the Group 2 Lee Steere (1400m) and of course their Roma Cup third.
Another notable Belmont Sprint hope this year is Greg Kerlsey’s McFlirt six-year-old When We Were Kings back up in class here.
After running a disappointing eighth to Playing God in the Group 3 Northerly Stakes and eighth again this time to Angel Of Mercy in the Listed Northam Cup (1600m) last October, When We Were Kings returned at Ascot in April.
They finished second in two Benchmark 78 handicaps then to get their confidence up, the last carrying 58kg meaning they drop four kilos for the weekend’s assignment.
See below for the full Belmont Sprint 2014 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2014 Belmont Sprint Final Field & Barrier Draw
Belmont Race 7 – 3:52pm (local) – 31/05/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.|
|1||7x8x5406x9||GRAND NIRVANA||Fred Kersley||Steven Parnham||8||58kg|
|2||2336x430x5||RANGER||Adam Durrant||Peter Hall||6||58kg|
|3||1111260×50||SETTLE STRADA||David Harrison||Patrick Carbery||10||55.5kg|
|4||15216x32x3||CHECKPOINT||Neville Parnham||Brad Parnham||7||54kg|
|5||x1221691x2||ELITE BELLE||Grant Williams||William Pike||1||54kg|
|6||73142x6x59||FULL REIGN||Peter & Matthew Giadresco||Troy Turner||9||54kg|
|7||26x72215x6||KALAHAAR||Steve Wolfe||Shaun Mc Gruddy||4||54kg|
|8||x0000x98x0||KING SAUL||Bruce Watkins & Gary Hitchcock||Ben Paterson (a)||2||54kg|
|9||x4622x70x7||LUKE’S LUCK||Simon A Miller||Jason Whiting||3||54kg|
|10||1112488×22||WHEN WE WERE KINGS||Greg Kersley||Shaun O’Donnell||5||54kg|