Catherine Cameron's main spring hopes will rest on the shoulders of the lightly raced Group winner Bellatrix Black following the retirement of the highest-rated horse in her stable.
The Cambridge trainer has called time on talented import Cheval Prometteur, an English-bred son of Declaration Of War, who had graduated to stakes company with honours last preparation.
"He has been retired, he tweaked a tendon just before the Easter Handicap [Group3] and we decided he deserved a happy retirement," Cameron said.
"Emma Wilson, one of the girls that works for me, has taken him and he will start a new career later in the year.
"Emma does some show jumping so she will get him up and play around with him and he'll be spoiled rotten."
Cheval Prometteur won five races and will always have a special place in Cameron's heart as he provided her with her first black-type winner when successful in the Group3 Balmerino Stakes (2000m) last spring.
He also ran third in the Group2 Japan Trophy (1600m) and finished fourth in the Group1 Livamol Stakes (2040m).
"We probably could have got him back, but he tries so hard and we would rather see him have a happy retirement and he has had a few other niggles," Cameron said.
"He certainly did us proud and I think the biggest margin he got beaten by was five lengths in the Captain Cook Stakes [Group1, 1600m] when he pulled a shoe off out of the gates."
With Cheval Prometteur's retirement, the mantle has now passed to the Redwood filly Bellatrix Black.
She made rapid progress last preparation and came off her maiden victory to claim top honours in the Group3 Sunline Vase (2100m) before she finished eighth and less than four lengths off the winner in the Group1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m).
"She has done five weeks on the treadmill and will be back on Wednesday so we're pretty excited to get her back in the stable," Cameron said.
"We will get her up and going and maybe try and sneak her into a few of the Cups on lighter weights.She stays well.
"Now we don't have Cheval to defend his title in the Balmerino, we might have a go at that and then maybe the Counties Cup [Group 3, 2100m] and go from there."
Cameron is currently working a team of 15, including a number of younger horses and among them is Bellatrix Black's unraced half-brother.
"He's a monster, a big Rip Van Winkle 2-year-old. He is probably two or three weeks away from a trial," Cameron said.
"He's called Wolf Moon and has a lot of scope about him and a very good attitude like Bellatrix Black.
"We've got some nice ones coming through so whether they stay around or show up and get sold we'll have to wait and see. You never know which one might be the next good one."
- NZ Racing Desk