New Zealand's best pacing mare The Orange Agent is unlikely to race again this year.

But trainer Brian Hughes is confident the outstanding four-year-old will be seen back at the track again.

A recent x-ray has confirmed a small fracture in her pastern, with a decision to be made soon on whether it requires an operation to insert a screw.

"Ultimately that decision isn't mine, it is the owner's, but either way she has to spend at least the next two months boxed," says Hughes.


"So she definitely won't be aiming at the New Zealand Cup and it would seem pretty unlikely she would race until the New Year.

"It is disappointing but the prognosis is good. It is not an uncommon injury and the fracture is one about half an inch long."

The Orange Agent is a hot favourite to win the four-year-old pacing mare of the year in Christchurch on Saturday night to add to the three-year-old filly title she won last season.

But her injury suggests she will miss New Zealand's best mares' race, the Queen of Hearts, at Alexandra Park in December as well as the Auckland Cup.

That leaves her with few major races to aim at in the second half of the season unless she heads to Australia. It also opens a gaping hole at the top of the New Zealand pacing mares' ranks, with group one winning mares Fight For Glory, Lancewood Lizzie and Venus Serena all retired this season.

That suggests whoever of the outstanding fillies of this season -- Dream About Me, Piccadilly Princess or Golden Goddess -- comes back the best could easily become our top pacing mare.

The news is better for The Orange Agent's stablemate Hughie Green, who is back in work but still 50-50 at best to contest the New Zealand Cup.

The Auckland Cup runner-up to Have Faith In Me, beating home Smolda, Hughie Green has filled out his gigantic frame even more but Hughes is not committing to an Addington campaign yet.