Top-rated New Zealand gelding Sangster was officially scratched from the 2014 Melbourne Cup field this morning while Racing Victoria stewards were notified that Zanbagh had pulled up lame with a bruised heel after running in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) yesterday. She is unlikely to compete in any major races for the rest of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, instead being rested towards a return in autumn next year.
Both were guaranteed a start in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 4.
Just hours later, it was revealed Sertorius is almost certain to miss out on a Melbourne Cup start following a sub-par Geelong Cup run yesterday that saw the gelding finish end of the field, eight and a half lengths behind the winner Caravan Rolls On.
Sertorius will undergo a complete veterinary examination today, which will hopefully shed some light on his disappointing run yesterday but co-trainer Jamie Edwards is already “99.9 per cent sure” the gelding will go to the paddock, regardless of the result.
“If the vet can’t find anything then you just have to put it down to he might have peaked in the autumn and he hasn’t come up in the spring,” Edwards told TVN.
“You can’t keep going to the well with these horse. He had a tough autumn and it might just be telling.”
Sertorius has not had a great year, which is surprising because the gelding was in great form last spring. He won the Listed Bendigo Cup (2400m) and Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) as well as finishing runner-up in a further three races.
However when he returned in autumn this year, he failed to capture this success. He had a tough autumn but did manage a minor placing in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) and even tougher spring, with his best result being a sixth place finish in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) on August 30.
“It was the first big autumn that he had and he didn’t have the same spark for the whole preparation,” Edwards continued.
“He’s a pretty highly strung sort of horse and he’s been pretty quiet. He’s just seemed to have that lack of dash.
“We will take a deep breath, put him in the paddock and give him a good holiday and cross our fingers that he comes back again.”
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