This wasn't how November was supposed to go for Sundees Son.
The reigning Trotter of the Year was the one-time favourite for both group ones trots of Cup week in Christchurch and the Inter Dominions which start at Alexandra Park a fortnight tomorrow.
Now he is heading to the spelling paddock with his tail between his legs.
The five-year-old galloped and lost all chance for the third race in a row in the NZ Trot Free-For-All at Addington on Tuesday and was always unlikely to start in tomorrow's $300,000 Dominion after that.
But trainers Robert and John Dunn has surrendered to Sundees Son niggling issues and also pulled him out of the Inter Dominions and sent him for a two-month spell.
"We just can't get him right," said John Dunn. "We keep patching him up and while his issue [fetlock joint] isn't serious at all, he has lost his confidence.
"He is only a young horse and we have to do the right thing by him so hopefully he can come back for the big races in the autumn."
While Sundees Son is out of the Dominion, hot favourite Oscar Bonavena still faces a huge task starting from the unruly in a capacity field, with his three main rivals in Marcoola (barrier one), Tough Monarch (six) and McLovin (10) all drawn the front line.
The Dunns will have two reps in the $200,000 NZ Pacing Free-For-All and luckless NZ Cup placegetter Classie Brigade drawn the ace.
"I am not sure he would have won the Cup had we got clearer earlier but he would have got a lot closer," Dunn says of Tuesday's third.
Dunn says he has the gate speed to try and lead tomorrow's 1980m group one and if he was able to hold the front early he would want to stay there, as he did in the Kaikoura Cup 10 days ago.
"But it may not be that easy. Cruz Bromac gets off the gate really fast, but I will be trying to hold him."
Cruz Bromac (six) has drawn inside Spankem (seven) and the tactics of that pair, who led and won the NZ Free-For-All and Miracle Mile respectively last season, will play a huge role in tomorrow's outcome.
Race 11, 5.48pm, $200,000, mobile 1980m
Classie Brigade (1), Chase Auckland (2), Our Uncle Sam (3), Henry Hubert (4), A G's White Socks (5), Cruz Bromac (6), Spankem (7), Nandolo (8), Thefixer (9).