Andrew Carston was feeling sick to his stomach on Wednesday morning when he discovered his leading Group 1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) candidate Art De Triomphe lame after a quiet trial at Ashburton the previous day.
Carston had been supremely confident the three-year-old Vadamos filly was ready to run the race of her life next Saturday but is now faced with the prospect of her spending considerable time in rehab after an operation to remove a chip on her knee this week.
“I am just gutted,” Carston said.
“I guess you have to chalk it up to the vagaries of racing, but she was going to be my first Group One runner and looked to be in with a real chance based on her lead-up form.
“She had been ticking over nicely after she ran second at Ashburton last month and we gave her the trial to put the finishing touches on her prep.
“She pulled up fine, but when she walked out on Wednesday morning, she was lame and it was all over.
“The vet has diagnosed it as a bone chip, so she is set for surgery on Tuesday and then she will be off the scene for a few months while she recovers.”
Carston was philosophical about what has occurred and thankful the filly should be fine to resume her career later in the autumn.
“We’ve got to the problem very quickly and the prognosis is good for her,” he said.
“It won’t be the first disaster we have and probably not the last and I’m looking forward to getting her back as she is a filly with a heap of talent.”
Carston will now turn his attention to the second day of the three-day New Zealand Cup Week carnival where he has three runners set to contest the Group 3 Valachi Downs Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m), while Hasabro will start amongst the favourites for the Group 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m).
“We have a pretty good team in on Wednesday with Severine, Pullyoursocksup and Tamahine in the Breeders’ Stakes, while Hasabro looks a top chance in the Coupland’s Mile,” he said.
“I couldn’t be any happier with Hasabro as he is just a tough, genuine horse who gives his best every time he steps out.
“He does have to carry topweight of 59kgs, but he is used to carrying big weights and he has been mixing it with most of the horses he faces on Wednesday, so I expect a big run.
“Severine is probably the best of my three in the other race, but it is a very even field where luck will play a big part in the final result.”
Hasabro, who finished runner-up in last season’s Group 2 Easter Handicap (1600m), has won two of his three starts from his new southern base after transferring from the Ardmore stable of recently retired trainer Stephen McKee.