The career of superstar New Zealand three-year-old Noverre could be over, long before it reached anything like its potential.
But if an injury suffered last month does bring a sudden halt to his racetrack career at least it comes after the victory that will guarantee him a new life at stud.
Noverre has being diagnosed with ligament damage just below a sesamoid bone, close to the suspensory, and while he will undergo another veterinary examination next week the initial prognosis is not good.
"They are already suggesting to us he may have to be retired to stud," says Te Akau boss David Ellis, who bought Noverre to be trained by Jamie Richards.
"So we will know more soon but the studs are already ringing so we know he will have a good home to go to."
The news will shock racing fans who were still trying to work out just how good Noverre may be.
After winning as a two-year-old the big, bold son of Savabeel went to a whole new level this season and won two of his four starts, including his dazzling victory in the 2000 Guineas at Riccarton on November 6.
Noverre was forced back to last in the group one classic but exploded home under Opie Bosson in a style that suggests he may be one of the more talented recent winners of the Guineas and one with the scope to reach a Derby distance or race at group level in Australia.
"The vets are suggesting to us this is an injury that most likely happened at speed so we are nearly certain he did it in the Guineas, which makes how he won even more incredible," says Ellis.
Bred by Chittick Investment, of Waikato Stud fame, it wouldn't surprise to see Noverre end up standing at the iconic farm himself next year should the initial sire veterinary reports show no improvement and force him to stud.
Even if Noverre enjoys a miracle recovery and races again it won't be this summer and that has seen him removed from the market for the $1million Karaka Classic Mile on January 23, for which he was favourite.
The depth of Te Akau's strength is best summed up by the fact stablemate and last season's Karaka Million hero On The Bubbles is the new favourite for what is quickly becoming one of Ellerslie's iconic races.
On The Bubbles resumes at Te Rapa's star-studded meeting on Saturday his first start since winning the group one Sires' Produce at Awapuni last April and will carry 60.5kgs in the three-year-old race to open the programme.
With the Captain Cook Stakes and Wakefield Challenge from last Saturday's abandoned Trentham meeting having been transferred to Te Rapa and joining the Skycity Hamilton Waikato Cup, Cal Isuzu Stakes and a super-strong J Swap Sprint the meeting will be the strongest held in New Zealand so far this season.