Maurice McKendry finds himself in the unusual position of spectator this week from an even more unusual venue.

New Zealand's second most successful ever reinsman has been hospitalised since Tuesday and will miss drives at Alexandra Park tonight and, more importantly, behind his stable star Shandale in the Flying Stakes at Addington tomorrow.

McKendry was admitted to hospital after developing an infection in his foot which needs regular treatment.

"I don't know how I got it, whether it was a cut or a bite of some sort but it got a bit serious," says McKendry.


"So I have had to come in here for a few days and they reckon I won't get out until the weekend.

"The foot aside, I'm jumping through the bridle so I'm sure I'll be fine."

Missing tonight's meeting costs McKendry winning chances on horses like Eclipse Me (race one) and Brydon Ideal (race seven) but it is Addington tomorrow night he is more disappointed about.

Shandale headed south last night and McKendry's wife Sue will takeover his racenight preparation with Colin DeFilippi to do the driving.

"Colin will do a great job on him and if he goes well he will go to the Derby next week, which I'll be back for," says McKendry.

The drive on Eclipse Me tonight has been picked up by in-form Phil Butcher, who has had a golden last few months.

His 38 wins for the season put him fifth among North Island drivers and as well as Eclipse Me he reins winning hopes in tonight's main pace and trot.

Bettor Spirits faces a 40m handicap in race five but the composition of the field means he should be dragged into the race and victory tonight would go a long way to securing him a place in the Jewels as it would take him past $30,000 in stakes for the season.

"I think he has strengthened up since last season and while this week might depend on how they run the race he is good enough to win it," said Butcher.

And Butcher rates Realmein, who hasn't won a race a since November 2014, as an upset chance in race six.

"Until last start he felt like he had been going through the motions a bit but he drove a lot better and only faded late after we did some work," said Butcher.

"So I think he could be coming back to it."