Hot on the heels of trainer Anthony Cummings losing dual Group 1 winner Fiveandahalfstar for the Autumn, the Randwick trainer had to scrap Carnival plans for his three year old Drago because of injury.
Cummings had mapped out a triple Group 1 Autumn Carnival campaign for Drago which incorporated the $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 1 and the $1m Darley Australian Cup (2000m) the following week, both at Flemington and the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 12.
But a strained ligament at the back of the pastern means that Drago won’t be seen until the Spring along with 2012 Victoria Derby winner Fiveandahalfstar.
“Long term everything will be fine, but short term he will not be having an autumn,” Cummings told Racing Network.
“Sometimes everything works well and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Cummings has sang high praises for a long time for Drago but the Danehill Dancer three year old has failed to deliver at the top level.
Drago was placed twice at Group 3 level in the Spring with a second in the $125,000 IBIS Styles Lansvale Up and Coming Stakes (1300m) at Warwick Farm on August 24 and a third to Complacent in the $200,000 PJ’s Irish Pub Parramatta Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill on September 28.
And Drago couldn’t repeat the efforts of Fiveandhalfstar in finishing sixth to Polanski in last year’s Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington in the Spring.
But Cummings does have a solid back-up in the major three year old races in the Autumn with Thunder Fantasy who finished third in the last year’s Victoria Derby.
Thunder Fantasy has already had a trial at Randwick on January 16 and will resume in the Group 2 $220,000 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 8.
Cummings wasn’t going to take any chances with Fiveandahalfstar and made an early call to miss the Autumn Carnival to concentrate his efforts for the Spring after he developed a minor leg problem.
“His leg had a bit of heat in it at the end of last week and unfortunately he won’t be running in the autumn,” Cummings said.
“I had a look at a few different options, but at the end of the day we are just going to back off and leave him for the spring.
“We are better off to wait and hopefully get him back some time later.”