Mark Oulaghan copped the upper cut he wasn’t expecting at Riccarton last Saturday.
The Awapuni trainer was hoping to chase a third successive win in the Grand National Steeplechase this weekend with Upper Cut, but rider Matthew Cropp had to pull the Yamanin Vital 12-year-old up after jumping the fence at the 800 metres in the Koral Steeplechase (4250m).
Upper Cut was found to have suffered a flexor tendon rupture to his left foreleg.
“It’s a shame as he was travelling alright until then,” Oulaghan said. “It’s probably career-ending for him. He’ll be out for 12 months and will probably be too old to bring him back.”
Upper Cut was runner-up in the 2016 Koral Steeplechase before backing up to win the Grand National Steeplechase and last year he was fourth in the Koral leading into his hard-fought win over Kina Win in the Grand National.
Oulaghan’s sole focus at Riccarton will now be on Des De Jeu in Wednesday’s Racecourse Hotel & Motor Lodge Steeplechase (3200m).
Des De Jeu made international headlines through the amazing deeds of his rider Aaron Kuru to remount after falling at the first fence in a maiden steeplechase at Awapuni on June 16 then go on to win the race.
Oulaghan won’t be asking much more of Des De Jeu this winter.
“He can get through Wednesday and maybe have another one and that will be it until next winter,” he said. “It’s his first trip away so it’s a good experience for him.”