Trainer Grant Williams is looking for a new rider for Battle Emblem in the Group 2 $225,000 LD Total – C.B. Cox Stakes (2100m) at Ascot on Saturday after jockey Shaun McGruddy was injured in a Lark Hill barrier trial on Monday.
McGruddy will be sidelined for up to twelve weeks with a fractured left knee after falling from Royal Conquest after passing the winning post and will miss the remainder of the Perth Festival Of Racing including the Group 2 $500,000 Golden River Developments Perth Cup (2400m) at Ascot on New Year’s Day.
“He is in quite a bit of pain at the moment,” McGruddy’s manager Tom Atkinson said yesterday.
“He will go to see the orthopaedic surgeon tomorrow to determine how long he will be out. Shaun is hoping it will be six to eight weeks but it could be up to 12 weeks depending on how bad the break is.”
Trainer Adam Durrant is banking on Mr Moet’s ability to handle the step up to 2100m to negate the the horror drew of barrier fourteen in a field of sixteen.
“I don’t think the barrier is an issue,” Durrant said.
“If you go back and look at his staying record it is very impressive.
“Once he gets over 1800m there is further improvement in him.
“He always gets back to find his feet.
Mr Moet pulled off a long priced betting plunge in beating Luckygray in the Group 1 $1m Carlton Draught-Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on November 24 before the result was reversed in the Group 1 $500,000 TAB Touch.Mobi – Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot two weeks later when Luckygray was better suited under the weight for age conditions.
The extra distance will suit Mr Moet with the five year old winning over 2000m, 21000m and 2200m at Belmont during the winter.
“I think he is the best stayer in the race. It is a matter of him getting a clear run and not getting caught up behind slow horses,” Durrant said.
Jockey Daniel Staeck will again be on Mr Moet after partnering the five year old to victory in the Railway Stakes and second in the Kingston Town Classic while Perth’s new arrival Daniel Ganderton will be aboard one of Durrant’s other runners, Lopov with Shaun O’Donnell to ride the other stable representative Chester Road.
Playing God is struggling to find his best form since returning home from Flemington where he failed to impress at his only Melbourne Spring Carnival start when fourteenth to Happy Trails in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 10.
The Steven Parnham trained five year old just missed the place when fourth to Mr Moet in the Railway Stakes and then was beaten two lengths when sixth to Luckygray in the Kingston Town.