A knee operation has ended plans to turn champion filly Rollout The Carpet into a sprinting superstar.
Co-trainer Emma-Lee Browne says as far as campaign-ending injuries go, the filly's could have been a lot worse.
Rollout The Carpet underwent surgery yesterday morning to remove a chip in her near front knee, with the injury thought to have been caused, or at least worsened, by her early stumble in the 1000 Guineas at Riccarton on November 17.
She recovered to lead for much of that group one classic and showed enormous courage to hold off Waterford, who looked to have her measure at the 200m.
The victory was group one justice after Rollout The Carpet lost an earlier group one, the Diamond Stakes, at Ellerslie last March in the inquiry room.
"It just goes to show how tough she is to still win after what happened at the start at Riccarton," said Browne, who trains the filly in partnership with her father Jeff McVean.
X-rays soon after her return to Cambridge confirmed the problem but her long-term prognosis is good.
"It could have been a lot worse, like if it had happened before the Guineas and she had missed that. But it will set her summer plans back."
Foremost in those plans was an attempt at the Telegraph at Trentham in late January as her trainers looked for a sprinting group one target, rather than trying to train Oaks-level stamina into Rollout The Carpet.
"She will be able to go on the water walker around Christmas but the Telegraph comes off the list of targets.
"We were thinking about that because we are not sure she is an Oaks filly but we still have plenty of options if we choose no to go down that path."
The most logical destination is Australia, where Rollout The Carpet would have targets in Melbourne and Sydney.
"And some of those aren't until quite late, even April," adds Browne.
"That is all in the future though, we will just look after her and help her get better."
Rollout The Carpet's injury has thrown the valuable New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year title wide open.
After three races she led that series by 15 points from Waterford on 8.5, with the next leg the Eulogy Stakes at Awapuni on December 15.
Ironically, the reigning Filly of the Year, Planet Rock, stepped out in public for the first time since finishing last in last season's New Zealand Oaks, at the Te Aroha trials on Tuesday.
She downed former Singapore star Better Than Ever, the winner of 16 races, who is now trained by Jason Bridgman, in the open 1000m catchweight, with only a neck between the pair in 58.5 seconds.
One of the most interesting heats on Tuesday saw last season's Karaka Million runner-up Silk Pins win the 800m catchweight, looking well advanced.