The Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) dream is over this year for the connections of Sharp ‘N’ Smart.
The reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year has been ruled out for the remainder of the spring after a veterinary examination revealed he has a viral infection.
The Graeme and Debbie Rogerson-trained gelding put in an uncharacteristically poor showing when last in Saturday’s Gr.1 Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m) at Hastings, with Monday’s blood work revealing the reason why.
“He has got a viral blood disorder,” Graeme Rogerson said.
“His work was enormous last Tuesday and whether it was the (heavy) track and everything all added up, but he was fully vetted yesterday which revealed a viral infection.
“He hasn’t got a bacterial infection, he has a viral one, so we are treating him. We are going to do another blood in 12 days’ time and that will say what we do with him this time in.
“The horse comes first and all the owners are right behind us.”
As a result, Sharp ‘N’ Smart has been ruled out of his immediate targets, including the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m), Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m), and Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
While his Australasian hopes have been dashed this spring, Rogerson is holding out hope that they may still get to Hong Kong in December with his charge, but said they have a plan b up their sleeve if that doesn’t eventuate.
“He is out of the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup. He is certainly a good horse, but he has got his life ahead of him, and we have got to put the horse first, that’s the main thing,” he said.
“He has been inoculated for Hong Kong, but we will see what happens. We will see whether he gets there or whether he races in the autumn and goes up there for the Queen Elizabeth (Gr.1, 2000m) in April.”
In stark contrast, Rogerson was rapt with stablemate Solidify’s runner-up performance in Saturday’s Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) and is looking forward to heading south to tackle the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton next month with the colt.
“I am very happy with him,” Rogerson said.
“He changed stride in the heavy ground but he wants a mile. His run was very good and he is learning all of the time, he doesn’t have to improve much.
“He is going to run in the Sarten (Gr.2, 1400m) at Te Rapa and then he is going to Christchurch for the 2000 Guineas.
“I will then put him away and I think he is a Derby horse in the making.”
– NZ Racing Desk