Trainer Tony Pike breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as he watched Group 1 New Zealand Derby winner Sherwood Forest moving freely after pulling up lame in his campaign opener at Ellerslie the previous day.

The Fastnet Rock 4-year-old finished nearly 10 lengths behind the second-to-last runner in the JRA Trophy (1400m) on Saturday.

The gelding's subsequent veterinary examination found grade 4/5 lameness in his left foreleg but he was walking freely and showing no signs of a problem yesterday.

"We just don't know what has happened," Pike said. "Michael [McNab] said he lost his action after a furlong and he tailed off.

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"He pulled up extremely lame, so we took him home and performed some precautionary X-rays but they have revealed nothing at this stage. He's trotted up 100 per cent sound, so it's a little bit of a mystery.

"We'll do some more investigations over the next couple of days but thankfully it doesn't look life threatening, which is a big positive."

Sherwood Forest won the Group 1 New Zealand Derby earlier this year but struggled this weekend. Photo / Trish Dunell
Sherwood Forest won the Group 1 New Zealand Derby earlier this year but struggled this weekend. Photo / Trish Dunell

Pike guesses the horse may have struck himself coming out of the barriers.

"He was very lame after the race so he has obviously done something. It doesn't look like much at all, so we will press on once we've had him thoroughly checked out, although we won't be in any rush to get him to Hastings at this stage."

Pike will be represented in the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy at Hastings on Saturday with Group 1 NZ 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner Loire set to take her place in the race.

However, exciting 3-year-old prospect The Irishman will miss the age group events at the carnival in favour of an alternative path to the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November.

- NZ Racing Desk