The old phrase a week is a long time in racing rarely applied more painfully than to Miracle Mile winner Spankem. Last week, he was favourite for every harness race that matters in the next three months. Today, he is out of racing for the summer.
The outstanding pacer was rolled late in last Tuesday's New Zealand Cup by stablemate Cruz Bromac and then luckless when forced to sit parked in the NZ Free-For-All, so a Cup week to forget compared with the back end of last season where almost everything went perfectly.
But things went from frustrating to far worse this week when the millionaire pacer was diagnosed with a fetlock issue that will see him miss the rest of the summer, starting with the Inter Dominions which begin at Alexandra Park tomorrow week.
The long-time favourite for the series, which looked ideal for him with his gate speed and group one winning form on the right-handed track, Spankem won't only miss that but the Auckland Cup on December 31 and the Australian riches in the New Year, including the Miracle Mile.
Spankem's ability to race handy and the fact he never goes a bad race suggest even moderate luck could have seen him pick up another $500,000 this summer.
Sadly for his connections and futures punters he will now spend summer with the sun on his back and a belly full of grass. "It is gutting but we still have a horse and hopefully lots to look forward to," says part-owner Ken Breckon.
Spankem's withdrawal from the Interdoms saw markets closed and when they re-opened New Zealand Cup winner Cruz Bromac was the new favourite in one of the most open series in years.
He will be one of the six pacing reps in the series for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, joined by Ultimate Sniper, Chase Auckland, Another Masterpiece, Ashley Locaz and Thefixer.
They dominate the market but don't have the fear factor of All Stars champions such as Lazarus and the Aussie visitors will be be confident.
The Aussie pacing team has grown to eight with Sicario now confirmed and it is looking increasingly like their will only be two pacing heats of potentially 12 runners on all three nights to decide the dozen who qualify for the $500,000 final on December 14.
Futures punters should also note Spankem isn't the only group one star from the Purdon-Rasmussen stable to miss the carnival, with Princess Tiffany not coming north for the Queen Of Hearts.
"She has only been back in work for three weeks after racing at the Breeders Crown and was never going to be ready for that," says Rasmussen.
That suggests Barry Purdon holds a mortgage on that group one, also on December 14, as he now has both favourites Belle Of Montana and Wainui Creek.
Although the pacing series has lost its favourite, the news is better for the trotting series, with both Marcoola and McLovin getting the green light.
Marcoola has passed an endoscopic examination to prove he has taken no harm from his Dominion failure last Friday and he will fly north on Monday and join the Barry Purdon stable.
The final payments for the Inter Dominion are at 11am tomorrow morning. The payments will determine whether it consists of four heats per night (two pacing and two trotting) or whether either gait can stretch to three heats per night.
• $3.80: Cruz Bromac.
• $5: Chase Auckland, Ultimate Sniper.
• $5.50: Bling It On.
• $7: Thefixer.
• $9: San Carlo.
• $13: Colt Thirty One.
• $15: Classie Brigade.
• $17: Triple Eight.
• $21: Ashley Locaz.
• $34 or more: The rest.