One of the richest deals in New Zealand trotting history has fallen over, meaning exceptional trotter Monbet will be staying put.
The four-year-old freak was under offer this week for huge money, which the Herald understands to be well over $500,000, but the sale has not gone through.
Trainer Greg Hope, who owns the majority share in Monbet with his wife Nina, confirmed the gelding was for sale but he did not pass the pre-sale veterinary examination to the satisfaction of his proposed new owners.
"I don't think there were any major problems, as he is as sound as a bell," says Hope.
"But like most racehorses these days he has things that showed up in the exam that could be problems in the future and that was enough to put the new owners off.
"We are comfortable with that. It was a lot of money so we wouldn't have been able to turn it down but that decision has now been taken out of of hands.
"And it kind of feels right. Sure, the money would have been great but we are happy to be hanging on to him."
Monbet has been a sensation this season, going on a group race-winning rampage and looks world class.
He resumes at Addington this Friday before four group one races over two months to end his season, three of those against his arch rival Speeding Spur.
The pair are set to meet in the Anzac Cup at Alexandra Park on April 22, the Rowe Cup a week later and the Jewels at Cambridge on June 4.
Meanwhile, harness racing could be set to lose its second group race in a week due to a lack of entries.
Addington bosses say only a couple of unexpected late nominations this morning can save the Superstars Championship set down for Friday night from being abandoned.
The $40,000 race has attracted only six entries, including Easter Cup winner Locharburn, and is one of several races left open for late entries until today.
If it is lost it will follow the Four And Five-Year-Old Championships at Forbury Park last week which was also ditched after failing to secure enough entries.
"We have six at the moment and would probably run it with seven," says Addington racing manager Brian Rabbit.
"But it is more complicated than that. One of the horses in the six is only 50-50 so we might need two more to come across."
Rabbit says the Superstars, which used to be a 2600m standing start and more recently a 2600m mobile, was programmed as a 1950m mobile for the first time this year.
"We reduced the distance because it was a week after the Easter Cup, to make it easier for horses who wanted to start in both.
"Obviously we would love it to get off the ground but we can't do much more than we have."
While Rabbit is disappointed the race is in danger, he was pleasantly surprised two races he expected to struggle for numbers this Friday are looking healthy.
Addington could have an 11-horse field for the Flying Stakes, which could have easily been ruined by the presence of dual Derby winner Lazarus.
And the group one $100,000 Breeders Stakes for the mares has been boosted by Fight For Glory and Linda Lovegrace, the former back from a near-record short retirement.
Fight For Glory was retired after the Ladyship Mile at Menangle on February 28, her connections suggesting they were struggling to patch her up after two big seasons of racing.
But she has bounced back to normal health and with the group one lacking serious depth she will take her place alongside stablemate Linda Lovegrace, who has rejoined the All Stars Stable after a successful Victoria campaign with Kerryn Manning.
Also back from Victoria is last season's two-year-old trotting filly of the year High Gait, who was a last-start group one winner at Melton and headlines the New Zealand Trotting Oaks on Friday night.