Last year’s Melbourne Cup runner-up Maluckyday has been ruled out of this year’s $6.2 million race due to a virus.
The Zabeel gelding finished eighth in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes at Warwick Farm two weeks ago, in what was his first run of the spring.
The news comes as a blow for trainers Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes, who were hoping to secure their first Melbourne Cup victory.
“The horse has a virus and needs to be treated, so we can’t push on with him this spring,” John Hawkes said.
Hawkes believes that while this virus will put an end to any hopes of winning this year’s Melbourne Cup, it will not compromise next year’s autumn campaign.
“He’s still a young, lightly-raced horse and we want to look after him,” he said.
“Hopefully he will be back better than ever in the autumn.
“The horse’s welfare must come first.”
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said that there was still a slight possibility Maluckyday would return in time to contend some of spring’s other feature races.
”There is a faint chance of have him coming back late in the spring, but as far as the cups go, he won’t be in them,” he said.
“For us, that’s the end of 2011, and we now look at 2012.”