Major setback for Derby prospect


    CONNECTIONS of talented youngster Alta Maestro have a difficult decision to make.

    Following his disappointing run in the Sales Series Final at Alexandra Park on New Year’s Eve, trainer Robert Dunn knew something was wrong with the star three-year-old.

    “When he ran 41 lengths last the start before, I had a feeling it might have been his wind, but when we scoped him there was no inflammation or any signs to suggest so,” Dunn explained.

    “This time it was the same, but Blair Orange, who was in front of him, said he heard him flip his palate twice during the race.”

    There are two options for Dunn and connections to consider – fitting the horse with a Cornell Collar, or laser surgery on his airway to fix the soft palate dorsal displacement.

    A Cornell Collar stabilizes the larynx in an upward position during strenuous work, whereas the surgery is relatively noninvasive and has a recovery time of days, but only has a 60 per cent success rate long-term.

    “We have to decide which one we want to go with and I’ll sit down with Johnny (Dunn) and the Leadleys in the next few days when I get back to Christchurch and we’ll make the call,” Dunn said.

    “I’ve had an incredible success rate with wind operations in my stable; probably 90 to 95 perc ent of them being perfect results.”

    Dunn remains hopeful Alta Maestro will remain on target for the Northern Derby in Auckland on March 9 and the New Zealand Derby at Addington on April 6.

    “If we go the surgery route, I am confident he will back in time for both Derbys,” Dunn said.

    “It would be lovely to get him back to his best. He’s shown already this season what he can do when he leads.

    “It takes a serious horse to get past him when he’s at his best, as they found out when he won the Sires Stakes heat at Addington a few months ago.

    “He can roll along at 28 quarters pretty easily and most horses will struggle to get beyond his wheel.”

    • NZHN



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