The season that started so well has ground to a halt for Mi Muchacho.

The grey wonder pacer was a warm favourite for the New Zealand Trotting Cup just two months ago - now he is headed for the spelling paddock at the worst possible time.

Trainer Richard Anderson has confirmed what recent performances have suggested, that Mi Muchacho is suffering from a pelvic complaint which will end his summer racing campaign and could even finish his season.

"I am still waiting on some x-ray results but at this stage it doesn't look good," said Anderson.

"The Auckland Cup looks very, very unlikely and he could be out for a while."

Mi Muchacho started the season in sensational fashion, winning his first two open class races and dominating New Zealand Cup discussions.

Then he headed to Christchurch and the dream turned to a nightmare.

He galloped twice in the official Cup trial, sending warning signs into his camp before galloping under pressure in the home straight in the Cup.

He then paced roughly before being checked out of the Manukau Cup at Alexandra Park 11 days ago.

Vet tests have revealed a problem is the gelding's pelvic area although its exact nature is unknown.

"We are not sure whether it is ligament damage or a chipped bone ... I am only guessing at this stage.

"Once we have the x-rays we will be a lot clearer but the vet is confident that he can be fixed up and we haven't given up on getting him to the second Auckland Cup in March."

Anderson says the problem dates back to an injury suffered by Mi Muchacho as a two-year-old which has deteriorated this season.

"It also flared up last autumn and that makes you realise what a great job he has done to win so many big races with the problem.

"It has affected the way I train him and it makes me wonder what he could have been without it.

"Really, a lot of the time he has been racing on sheer courage."

The setback couldn't have come at a worse time as the open class ranks lack a genuine star after the retirement of Elsu and the injury suffered last month by New Zealand's most in-form pacer, Sly Flyin.

With New Zealand Cup winner Mainland Banner sticking to mainly age group racing this season a fit Mi Muchacho would have been a major player in over $2.7 million worth of races in the next five months alone.

Now he is likely to miss them all.

With Mi Muchacho to miss next week's Cup, Alta Serena is likely to shorten from $5.50 favouritism, especially after her booming fifth in Saturday night's Victoria Cup.

She is also drawn to win her final lead-up race, the $50,000 Queen Of Hearts at Alexandra Park on Friday night in which she will start from the ace.

The night's other feature, the Summer Cup, brings together most of the Auckland Cup-winning hopes, headed by Just An Excuse, Howard Bromac, Bobs Blue Boy, White Arrow and Tribute.

The meeting will host a $200,000 Pick6 as well as 11 final field fixed odds races.

It will not be the only highlight of the weekend for northern harness racing fans though, with Cambridge to host one of the more eagerly anticipated trots of the season on Saturday.

New Zealand's two best trotters, Allegro Agitato (barrier three) and Pompallier (four), are drawn alongside each other in the $35,000 Flying Mile which also features Delft, Iwi Alex and the return of Whatsundermykilt.

GREY CLOUD

* Mi Muchacho is injured and will miss next week's Auckland Cup.

* The one-time New Zealand Cup favourite may not race again this summer.

* Alta Serena is drawn to win her final Cup lead-up on Friday night.

* Allegro Agitato and Pompallier clash at Cambridge on Saturday.