New Zealand’s sole representative in the A$5 million All-Star Mile (1600m) at Flemington on March 19 is out.
A bone chip has been found in the knee of Group Three winner Elephant and trainers David and Emma-Lee Browne have elected to bypass the rich feature with the son of Shocking.
“He has just got a chip in his knee, it is a fairly minor operation to get done,” Emma-Lee Browne said.
“He was just a little bit off, so we got him checked out. It was just really bad timing.
“He was coming along really well and was supposed to trial today. But these things happen and you just shake it off.
“It is incredibly disappointing but at least we have a horse.”
The Brownes, who are currently relocating their training operation from Cambridge to Cranbourne, are now going back to the drawing board with Elephant and will target some spring features with the gelding.
He enjoyed a fruitful campaign in Victoria last spring, which included a win in the Gr.3 Sandown Stakes (1500m) and placings in the Gr.2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) and Gr.2 Crystal Mile (1600m).
He resumed with a fifth placing in the Listed The Elms Handicap (1400m), pleasing his trainers ahead of the All-Star Mile.
The Brownes are taking the bad news in their stride.
“We will be aiming towards the spring with him now. A bit of time won’t hurt him, he is a bit of a late maturer anyway,” Browne said.
“I can’t wait to get him to 2000m, but it just keeps not happening for us.
“We are lucky enough that he was sharp enough over there to pick up a couple of wins in the spring.
“It would have been amazing to be in the race (All-Star Mile) but the horse comes first, we will look after him and hopefully he will be there in the spring.”
Browne is in the final stages of sending their New Zealand team to Cranbourne and she won’t be too far away from joining her husband and children in Victoria.
“I load up another three tomorrow night and there are just a few more after that that are coming in,” Browne said.
“Most of them we are getting ready for the spring. We haven’t pushed them too hard here, we will just get there and get them settled in.”