The young superstar of New Zealand racing is set to miss the early part of this season and may not race again until next year.

Karaka Million winner Cool Aza Beel has tweaked a suspensory ligament that not only means he misses spring racing but trainer Jamie Richards isn't putting a timeframe on when he expects him to be back at the races.

"He will be fine long-term but we aren't going to put any pressure on him," says the champion Te Akau trainer.

"It is unfortunate timing with the array of races these top young horses have available to them on both sides of the Tasman during the spring, but the horse comes first so we will give him some time."


A stunning winner of the Karaka Million and then the Group 1 Sistema Stakes at Ellerslie, Cool Aza Beel is certain to be voted New Zealand two-year-old of the year and as a colt by Savabeel has commercial stud value, so his long-term value is more important than a missed spring.

With Te Akau's love of winning Karaka Million races (they won both this year) it would seem logical Cool Aza Beel's summer aim would be the $1 million Karaka Classic still programmed for January but even if he is back to full fitness by then Richards says that is far from a certain target.

"Not that we are thinking that far ahead at the moment but we don't even know if a mile is going to be his distance because he is so brilliant," says Richards.

That would suggest if he is back up and racing by Christmas the Group 1 sprints like the Railway and Telegraph could be his New Zealand aims before any Australian campaign in the autumn, where a Group 1 victory would enormously increase his value.

Richards' Australian season started with a flat performance from glamour mare Melody Belle in the Missile Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday but he isn't panicking just yet.

Trapped wide and then pulled back to last she never ran past a horse, making a mockery of how she ever opened favourite over a 1200m distance well short of her best at this stage of her career.

"We will have her checked out as we always do with after a run like that but not much went right for her," said Richards.

"Unless we find a reason not to, which I don't think we will, we will press on to the Winx Stakes in two weeks."


Before then Richards and Te Akau start to get more serious on the home front with some quality heading to Taupo on Wednesday on a variety of missions.

Avantage, Scott Base, Prise De Fer and In A Twinkling will trial while new recruit Vernazza, who finished second to Cool Aza Beel in the Sistema, will have an exhibition gallop. A truckload of young talent will also make their race debuts, including $1.4 million Karaka purchase No Limits.

The Taupo meeting will feature two star-studded trials before the first race with the Te Akau big names joined by Catalyst, Quick Thinker, Supera, Concert Hall, The Chosen One, Julius, Loire and Two Illicit.