A tendon injury has ruled Lord Of The Sky out of the rest of the Spring Racing Carnival but trainer Robbie Laing is hopeful of an early autumn return targeting the 2017 Oakleigh Plate next February.
Laing’s six-year-old Danerich stallion Lord Of The Sky was one of two big-name scratchings along with ATC Derby winner Tavago from last Saturday’s Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m).
While the New Zealand-trained Tavago could run again as soon as this weekend in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley, Lord Of The Sky won’t be seen again until next year.
The Cranbourne-based Laing originally feared the worst for Lord Of The Sky, but has since enjoyed good news that the galloper’s career shouldn’t be over completely.
“Scans have shown no tears and no holes [in the tendon], there’s a little bit of filling there and a little bit of damage to his annular ligament at the back of his fetlock joint,” Laing told Racing Victoria.
“The vets are quite optimistic to have him back towards the end of the spring, but I’d be more so looking to the autumn with him.”
A Group 1 placegetter, the horse was a smart winner of this July’s Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) and was last seen running under two lengths away fifth in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) in mid-August.
Everything looked spot on for a shot at the Memsie Stakes earlier last week before injury threatened not only his spring, but his future on the race track.
After the good news on Monday morning Laing said a race like the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 25 next year could make a nice return for his galloper after the recovery period.
“One race that has always looked tailor-made for him because of his love of Caulfield is the Oakleigh Plate,” he said, Lord Of The Sky having run 11th to Shamal Wind in the 2015 Oakleigh Plate.
Also on the autumn radar could be a trip to Sydney during April’s ‘The Championships’ for a shot at the lucrative $2 million Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick Racecourse, a race the galloper placed a brave second to Flamberge in last year.
“The T.J. Smith is a bit like the one that got away but I suppose if Chautauqua’s there again then he probably beats him,” Laing said, referring to Team Hawkes’ dual winner Chautauqua (2015, 2016).
“We’re still looking for that elusive Group 1 with him but he’s been back to somewhere near his best at his last couple of runs so if we do the right thing by him and be patient then he still might be able to achieve that in the autumn.”
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