Catalyst's Sydney spring campaign is hanging by a thread.
Trainer Clayton Chipperfield will know today whether the Kiwi speed freak passes a veterinary examination and can potentially continue to chase the incredible riches available, or returns home.
But the Te Awamutu trainer admits it is hard to be confident of his chances of getting to, let alone winning, races such as the Silver Eagle or A$7.5 million Golden Eagle.
Catalyst dropped out to last in the A$500,000 The Shorts at Randwick on Saturday, his case not helped by a severe check at the 150m mark, but by then, his bubble had burst.
Jockey Glen Boss secured the perfect trail with Catalyst, giving him the opportunity to launch at the top of the straight if good enough, but he looked like a sports car stuck in second gear.
Catalyst was later rated to be two out of five lame in his off front leg, with stewards ruling a veterinary certificate will need to be presented before he races or trials again.
Chipperfield, who is training the 4-year-old remotely because of Covid travel restrictions, says something clearly wasn't right with his stable star.
"Bossy says he felt enormous going to the start but he didn't let down in the straight," he says.
"So the vet check will be crucial. It should tell us whether he had an off day or whether we have a bigger problem."
Catalyst's troubles continue a largely luckless spring for New Zealand's galloping elite in Sydney, with The Bostonian also having soreness issues and Melody Belle returned home after two below-par runs.
The latter's stablemate Probabeel has been the shining light though, her win in the Bill Ritchie on Saturday seeing her the $8 second favourite for the A$1 million Epsom at Randwick on October 3.
Probabeel's ownership mate Bavella, both being owned by the Lindsays of Cambridge Stud, didn't fare quite so well in the Tarzino at Hastings on Saturday.
She dropped out to finish second last and was originally diagnosed as possibly having a case of the thumps, as was fellow mare Kiwi Ida.
Trainer Lance Noble says a vet check yesterday morning suggested the mare was okay but she will have an ECG to ensure she has no heart issues after the race.
The news was not so good with Great Northern Hurdle winner Bad Boy Brown, who had to be humanely put down after fracturing a bone high in a leg in the opening hurdle race at Hastings on Saturday.
"He was a hell of a brave horse who loved being out there and loved his jumping, so it was a very sad day for us," said trainer Harvey Wilson.
Johnson out for a month
Leading jockey Chris Johnson has copped a four-week suspension and $1000 fine for being over the allowed blood alcohol limit on a race day.
Johnson pleaded guilty to the charge after failing a breathalyser test at Riccarton nine days ago, where his mcg was as high as 145, with the limit for raceday riding being 100mcg. The legal limit for driving a car is 250mcg.
Johnson will miss four weeks' riding but will return on October 17 needing just eight more wins to become New Zealand's most successful domestic jockey.