Early favourite Rock Sturdy has been ruled out of the 2014 Epsom Handicap after he suffered a suspensory ligament injury at trackwork this morning.
Rock Sturdy stamped himself as favourite for the Epsom Handicap when he scored an impressive win over Liberty’s Choice and Ninth Legion in the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 27 and appeared on track for the Group 1 event before he suffered the nasty injury this morning.
The Fastnet Rock entire was immediately withdrawn from the 2014 Epsom Handicap field and Pride told TVN that the racing career of the four-year-old could be in jeopardy.
“I’m still waiting to get him scanned but it doesn’t look good unfortunately,” Pride said.
“These injuries are never good but I think it might be over.”
Rock Sturdy made his racing debut at Warwick Farm in February of this year and performed fairly in his first two race starts before he recorded his maiden race win in The Races.com.au Handicap (1550m) at Canterbury on March 12.
The talented entire was narrowly denied a second straight win by Singing Flame in the Quaddie Handicap (1800m) at Randwick on March 26 and he was sent to the spelling paddock after making his debut at Stakes level with a fast-finishing third behind Gypsy Diamond in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 12.
Rock Sturdy returned to the races with a tight second behind the talented Cluster in the Forum Group Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on July and he took out two races at Rosehill Gardens on August 2 and Royal Randwick on August 23 before he finished fourth with 60 kilograms on his back on a heavy track on September 6.
Manawanui denied Rock Sturdy his first win at Group level in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 20, but he added a black type win to his racing resume in the Shannon Stakes.
Rock Sturdy is owned by Gooree Park and racing manager Monica Barrera-Cummings said that the four-year-old will undergo scans this morning and she remains optimistic that the talented horse will be able to return to the races.
Pride and Gooree Park will now be represented in the 2014 Epsom Handicap by Group 1 winner Laser Hawk, who will be partnered by Singapore-based hoop Corey Brown.