Champion trotter Sundees Son is out of Sunday’s Grand Prix meeting and the summer of racing.
The last-start Dominion winner, making it a three-peat in the race, has knocked a leg in a paddock and will be sent for a spell.
That means he misses the $100,000 NZ Trotting Free-For-All at Addington on Sunday, the open class trotting highlight of the new eight Group 1s raceday.
It means Muscle Mountain, who
all but beat Sundees Son in the Dominion, will start a hot favourite in the Free-For-All.
“It is nothing serious, but with missing this Sunday, we thought it was a good chance to give him a break,” driver John Dunn said last night. “So he can have the summer off and we will bring him back up for the autumn, where he could have three or four big races.”
Muscle Mountain’s domination of the Free-For-All is complete after he drew barrier one for the 1980m, suggesting he will lead and win.
Two of the other big names on the day are also set to start short after Millwood Nike (two-year-old fillies) and True Fantasy (New Zealand Oaks).
Millwood Nike gets barrier two in the final major two-year-old fillies’ race of the season as she looks to remain unbeaten.
And True Fantasy will be long odds in the Oaks as she has the gate speed to use her draw, with stablemate Queen Of Diamonds drawn the outside of the front line, while Lady Of The Light will have to overcome a second line draw.
But there will be more intrigue in other Group 1 races such as the New Zealand Derby.
The $250,000 Derby could remarkably see Republican Party (barrier four) start favourite over long-time elect Akuta after getting by far the better of the draws.
The markets open this morning.