One of New Zealand's finest race mares Valley Girl has been prematurely retired.
The classy 4-year-old, by Mastercraftsman out of the group three-winning Bianconi mare Leigh Valley, was yesterday found to have a shattered radius bone above the knee.
Valley Girl dropped out of contention in Saturday's $200,000 Makfi Stakes after hanging badly almost from the start of the race. Having won at group one level left-handed at Te Rapa it was obvious that something had to have been amiss on the left-handed Hastings.
"Remarkably, she wasn't lame afterwards," said co-trainer Donna Logan yesterday. "And when she's been trotted up since she's shown no signs of soreness."
But the Logan/Chris Gibbs stable was not about to take chances with such a valuable commodity.
"It we hadn't X-rayed the legs we wouldn't have known the extent of the injury," said Logan.
"The beautiful part of this is that if we'd raced again without taking the inspections further she might have shattered the leg in the race and that would have been the end of her.
"Lisa [Allpress] eased her out of the race on Saturday. She said she didn't feel lame, but she knew something was not quite right.
"They have told us the bone could heal, but it would be weakened."
Valley Girl is now committed to racing at group one level and horses cannot be even two per cent below their best and be competitive in that league, so the decision was made to retire the mare.
Valley Girl is owned by Llanhannock Trust, whose principal, Des Hawkins said she would be sent to Australia to be served.
"We will try and find a suitable stallion that does not have too much Danehill blood because she has a lot of Danehill in her."
Valley Girl raced just 11 times to pick up $390,525. After winning the Herbie Dyke at Te Rapa she finished a close and luckless fifth in the BMW Derby at Ellerslie and a close second in the group one Vinery Stud Stakes in Sydney.
She looked so much stronger as a 4-year-old this preparation and scored a brilliant first-up Ruakaka win before heading to Hastings.
"The great thing is we didn't lose the mare and no horse or jockey was injured if she'd snapped her leg and fallen in a race," said Logan.