An elevated temperature has forced the scratching of current Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) favourite Dragon Leap from today’s Group 2 Legacy Lodge Waikato Guineas (2000m).
The Pierro three-year-old was using the Te Rapa contest as his main lead-in race to the Derby at Ellerslie on February 29 but trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott have taken the decision to save him for next week’s Group 2 Jamieson Park Avondale Guineas (2100m) instead.
O’Sullivan is confident the issue is just a minor setback and has erred on the side of caution with the exciting prospect. “He had an elevated temperature this morning and had left a bit of feed,” O’Sullivan said. “We take their temperature every morning and our vet seems to think that once we run his bloods during the week that he would be surprised if he wasn’t ready for the Avondale Guineas next week.
“From when we left him this morning it had actually come down a little later on but it would be suicide running him as he would perform way below his best.”
Dragon Leap currently sits at the top of the TAB Fixed Odds market for the Derby at a $2.50 quote ahead of second favourite Travelling Light at $4, with the pair set to clash for the first time at Te Rapa before the forced withdrawal.