Talented colt Va Pensiero has been ruled out of the 2014 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington this afternoon after being found with an elevated temperature.
Va Pensiero was set to return to the races for the first time since his impressive 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, but is now expected to resume in Sydney; with the son of Stratum holding a nomination for the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 12.
The Jason Coyle-trained galloper failed to fire at the highest level of racing as a juvenile, finishing ninth in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) and 11th in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m), but produced his best form at the start of his three-year-old campaign.
He resumed with a surprise victory over Cluster and Windjammer in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 17 and was the only horse to score a win over Zoustar in the spring after winning at long odds again in the Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 31.
Va Pensiero was not suited at handicap conditions in the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) at Royal Randwick on September 21 and tired in the final stages of the race when fifth behind Zoustar in the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) at the same venue on October 5.
The three-year-old returned to a semblance of his best form with a fourth place finish behind Lion Of Belfort, Safeguard and Diamond Oasis in the Blue Sapphire (1200m) at Caulfield on October 12 before finishing his campaign with a poor performance in the Group 3 Red Anchor Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day.
Va Pensiero is currently available at a quote of $101 for the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes.
Classy mare Samaready ($4.60) is the favourite in 2014 Newmarket Handicap betting markets, but there has been plenty of support for last year’s winner Shamexpress ($4.80) and talented sprinter Lankan Rupee ($5).