The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Trainer Mick Price has confirmed that Flying Artie will not take his place in the 2017 Newmarket Handicap field at Flemington on Saturday as he battles a low-level lung infection.
A proven performer down the famous Flemington straight, Flying Artie returned to the races for seventh in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) on February 18th, but has reportedly trained on well from the run and would have relished a step up to 1200m into the Newmarket Handicap field.
Price told Racing Victoria that the Artie Schiller colt worked extremely well on Tuesday morning, but was found to be harbouring an issue only hours after the hit-out.
“He worked at 6am and I was happy with his gallop but when I saw the horse at 9am we had an issue,” Price said.
“He was scoped and it was detected that he has a low-level lung infection.
“This requires treatment and three days’ rest in the paddock where he can get his head down on some green grass.
“It is not ideal mid preparation and disappointing that we will miss the Newmarket but I’m still hopeful he can head to Sydney for the T.J. Smith Stakes.”
Flying Artie has posted three wins and as many minors through his seven career starts, highlighted by a smart win in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) in October.
Having previously underlined the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) on March 24th as the second-up target, Price revealed that stable mate Extreme Choice will now take Flying Artie’s position in the 2017 Newmarket Handicap field.
“He deserves his chance in the Newmarket and he will now run with Flying Artie out of action,” Price said.
“I don’t think we saw the best of Extreme Choice in the Coolmore Stud Stakes last spring. I think he is better than that.
“Joao Moreira was booked for Flying Artie but he will now ride Extreme Choice.
“There is still a chance he could go to the William Reid after the Newmarket, it is 13 days after, we will just see how he comes through Saturday.”
Extreme Choice broke through for a maiden win at the highest level in the 2016 of the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m), but was undoubtedly at his best when he returned in spring to deliver an open field a comfortable defeat in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m).
Having trialled well leading into his 2017 campaign, the Not A Single Doubt colt stormed home to finish third in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) first-up on February 25th.
The 2017 Newmarket Handicap field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, Wednesday.
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