A scan today will decide whether Speeding Spur's season is over.
But even if the results rule the north's best trotter out of next month's Rowe Cup, trainer John Dickie is adamant his stable star will race again.
That is a vast improvement on the prognosis just two weeks ago when scans taken in Australia suggested the outstanding five-year-old may be forced to stud by recurring leg issues.
Things brightened once the injury suffered on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix on March 12 settled down, with retirement talk now off the table.
"Initially things didn't look great but they are better now so I am sure he will race again," said Dickie.
"But the next scan [today] will tell us whether we have any chance of getting him to the Rowe Cup [April 28]. It is an outside chance but still a chance. But if it comes back that we can't, then we will put him aside till next season."
The positive news about Speeding Spur comes as the emergency ward for top trotters starts to fill up.
Former trotter of the year Stent hasn't been seen all season while Horse of the Year Monbet hasn't raced since November and won't be seen again this season.
Now Marcoola has a hoof problem which means he will miss the Rowe Cup carnival and is doubtful for the Jewels. "I have never had a horse with a quarter crack before so it is all a bit new to me," admits driver Clint Ford.
"But the northern trip is definitely out and the Jewels might be doubtful."
That leaves only Master Lavros, who has struggled to show his best this season, from the country's top five trotters with any chance of making the Rowe Cup.
"He will race at Addington next week and all going well come to Auckland," said trainer Mark Jones.
So all of a sudden, usual supporting cast members such as Prime Power, Sunny Ruby and Quite A Moment have realistic shots at two of the biggest trotting races of the season at Alexandra Park next month.
The carnival could be a boost from an unusual corner though, with Taranaki-owned, NSW-trained former pacer turned trotter On Thunder Road being considered for a Rowe Cup campaign.
Meanwhile, bookies have ignored the draws to open northern star mare The Orange Agent a $1.80 favourite for the $100,000 Breeders Stakes at Addington tomorrow night, even though she has the drawn wide whereas second favourite Piccadilly Princess ($3) has barrier two.
Ultimate Machete's inside draw will see him open an odds-on favourite over Vincent in the Flying Stakes.