Champion trotter I Can Doosit is set to undergo an extensive veterinary examination today as trainer Mark Purdon struggles to pinpoint exactly what is troubling the great horse.
I Can Doosit's 18-race winning streak ended at Cambridge on Christmas Eve when he paced and then galloped, while a week later he was clearly not at his peak when beaten by Stig at Alexandra Park.
Purdon originally thought I Can Doosit was jarred up in his front hooves but is now starting to doubt that is the only problem.
"The way he trotted at speed in the National Trot he actually felt like he has a little soreness issue in behind," Purdon said.
"And it is something that I could only really feel at full speed."
So I Can Doosit will head to a Waikato veterinary clinic for cyntography, during which dye is injected into the body to help highlight problem areas.
Purdon is relatively confident whatever is troubling the big horse is not a major problem but with $750,000 of races in the next two months, he wants to be sure.
"He will have the tests tomorrow and then be at the clinic for two days.
"After that hopefully we will know more and be able to treat an exact problem."
Purdon is still confident I Can Doosit will be on a plane to Melbourne next week but has ruled out a start in the Australasian Trotting Champs.
"He might race in Melbourne but I wanted him with me when I am travelling over there so I can work on him and the place we are staying at has a pool he can swim in so it is the best thing for him.
"And then we will aim him at the big races in Sydney and Melbourne in March."
Smolda will take on his conqueror from last Friday, Gold Ace, in the Futurity at Cambridge this Friday.
Then he will join Purdon's assault on the Victorian carnivals.
He and I Can Doosit are likely to be joined by Auckland Reactor and Highview Tommy, who will be aimed at the Ballarat and Hunter Cups.
Arden Rooney will head to Melbourne for the Victoria Derby, and stable newcomer Dr Hook will take his place in the Australasian Trotting Champs.
Purdon will also send a powerful team to Sydney in two weeks, with Major Mark, O Baby and Minnie Moose going first in the care of Purdon's partner Natalie Rasmussen.
They will then be joined in February by Tatijana Bromac and Rozelski.
That could see him have horses racing at Menangle's March 3 meeting, which is shaping as one of the biggest ever held in the Southern Hemisphere, with seven group one races.