Injuries plague racing’s jewel
- by:Matt Stewart
- From:Herald Sun
- August 17, 2012 12:00am
The loss of Atlantic Jewel is a big blow to the spring carnvial. Picture: Rohan KellySource: The Daily Telegraph
THE nervous countdown to spring is a bit like an old car rattling down a bumpy road; wheels wobble and bits fly off.
There is always an attrition rate, you just hope the thing can be patched up until October.
In some ways news that Black Caviar would miss the carnival was refreshing, a chance to focus on something new, but only as long as Atlantic Jewel stayed on track.
This week’s injury to the unbeaten Atlantic Jewel was a terrible blow to a carnival that required a distraction from the growing race-fixing scandal.
Last year the casualty score was so severe in August that the carnival, at least the star horse factor, never really recovered.
Black Caviar cantered around a handful of times in an extended royal wave, the locals flapped about in the worst Caulfield Cup imaginable and were later humbled by the raiders in the Melbourne Cup, and the Cox Plate forced racegoers to get their heads around Pinker Pinker as a household name.
This year was going to be different but already the bits are falling off. With Atlantic Jewel, the engine collapsed through the chassis.
Lucas Cranach was going to be the X-factor weight-for-age horse, back in business after spring and autumn injuries, but he fell over again, as did Queensland Derby winner Brambles. Mosheen has had a throat operation, with trainer Robert Smerdon not unduly concerned, but at this time of year any setback is magnified.
Pierro is not injured, as such, but last season’s champion two-year-old has had his campaign delayed. He will almost certainly miss the Golden Rose, described as strategic by the Gai Waterhouse camp, but when was the last time she passed up a $1 million gift?
Manawanui, whose early autumn exit was seen as a blessing in disguise, is off his tucker and giving trainer Ron Leemon sleepless nights.
“He’s not 100 per cent,” he said. “When they’re off their feed, you can’t work them and horses at this level need to be super fit.”
The Cox Plate, already unrecognisable from a week ago, is now virtually ruled out for Manawanui.
“But we’re still hanging in there as far as the spring goes,” he said.
Even this far out, most eggs are in the three-year-old basket.
Black Caviar’s half brother All Too Hard ranks with his autumn nemesis, Pierro, as the brightest prospects for the spring.
“I hope he is the superstar,” jockey Dwayne Dunn said. “But as we’ve seen, in racing anything can happen in a week.”