Star Galleria's New Zealand Cup dream is still alive — if trainer Steven Reid actually wants it to be.
Arguably the north's fastest pacer looked in danger of missing the Cup last week when he was diagnosed with suspected suspensory damage, which would have been nearly impossible to overcome with the Cup now less than four weeks away.
But to Reid's delight his stable star scanned clear of any damage on both Thursday and Friday and is clear to race at Alexandra Park next week.
But with the Auckland Inter Dominions a tasty second early summer carrot for the open class pacers, Reid says even if Star Galleria returns to his best he is not certain to head to Addington.
"Sure, everybody wants to start in the Cup but there is no point going unless you give yourself a real show," says Reid. "So he will need to go really well next week to be heading to Addington. And by that I mean if he even won next week but I wasn't thrilled with him he might stay home.
"Things are different this season with the Inter Dominions up here. It gives us a whole other target we don't usually have. So we will race him next week and then make a decision around Addington."
The lure of a home town Inter Dominion will keep another northern group one winner away from the Cup carnival with National Trot winner Massive Metro withdrawn from the Dominion.
Trainer Michelle Wallis says her stable star has struggled with a hoof abscess and would have needed to be racing consistently by now to be honed down for the 3200m of the Dominion.
"So we have pulled him out of that and while we would liked to have gone there it is not as bad knowing we have the Inters at home later that month," says Wallis.
"And even after the Inters are done we have races like the National Trot and the good Australian races like the Great Southern Star so he has plenty of options."
One of the potential stars of the Alexandra Park Inter Dominions makes a surprise return at Addington on Friday night when Self Assured steps out against the big boys.
The four-year-old is unbeaten in six starts and was so impressive during his Queensland winter campaign that culminated in him winning their Derby he is the $4.50 second favourite for the Inter Dominion.
He was originally not set to resume for another few weeks but this Friday's handicap pace was added by Addington at the request of trainers and now Self Assured finds himself up against Miracle Mile-winning stablemate Spankem but with a 30m start on Friday,
If he remains unbeaten the open class pecking order and some major race markets could need reviewing.