Superstar pacer Turn It Up is out of the New Zealand Cup and Auckland Inter Dominions and almost certain not to race again this year.
The Auckland Cup, Easter Cup and Harness Jewels winner has undergone an operation to remove cartilage damage in both his front legs, an issue which may have been bothering him in the second half of this season.
While trainer Mark Purdon says the prognosis is good for a full recovery the time Turn It Up will need off to recover from the operation rules him out of the biggest races of the domestic season.
"The vets have told us 12 weeks away from training," Purdon told the Herald. "So it probably won't even be back jogging until mid-September and that means the New Zealand Cup and the Inter Dominions in Auckland are definitely gone."
"And I'd be almost certain he won't race again this year so the Auckland Cup would be gone too. But that still leaves some big races in Australia in the second half of the season, races like the Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile.
"So while it is disappointing to not have him for races like the Cup and the Interdoms, long-term it is the right thing for the horse."
Purdon says the issues weren't causing Turn It Up any pain when racing but they could have deteriorated with time so operating now was the best option.
Turn It Up, who has never finished further back than second in 15 starts, having won 11 of them, was favourite for both the New Zealand Cup and the Inter Dominion but markets are now suspended.
His withdrawal still leaves the All Stars with the two NZ favourites in Miracle Mile winner Spankem and defending Cup champion Thefixer.