Trainer Frank Ritchie is taking no chances with stable star Dawn Patrol in the build-up to the rich Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie later this month.
Ritchie had the Dawn Approach gelding down to contest a three-year-old 1600m event at Ellerslie on Sunday as his final lead-up event before the Classic but withdrew him after he spiked a temperature following some light work at Cambridge on Saturday morning.
“We worked him in the morning and when he came off the track, he just hadn’t put in like we thought he should,” Ritchie said.
“It wasn’t anything major, but we got the vet to him and he found the horse had a slightly elevated temperature.
“We got some blood tests done as well and they didn’t show anything, so I guess in layman’s terms, you could just call it a stomach ache or similar.
“He was as good as gold by the afternoon, so I don’t believe it was anything serious, but it was enough to see him withdrawn from Sunday’s race.”
While disappointed in missing the race, Ritchie is confident he will have Dawn Patrol at peak for his major assignment at Ellerslie on January 26.
“It would have been nice to see him run as he was going to get a good track, which he needs, and I think he was pretty close to being at his peak,” he said.
“There is no race suitable for him between now and the Karaka Million so I will most likely take him to Ellerslie for a work-out on the Monday before the race.
“Ellerslie has opened their track that day for horses racing on Karaka Million night, so I am keen for him to get another gallop going right-handed before he tackles what looks likely to be a cracking field.”
An Ocean Park half-brother to Dawn Patrol will be offered through the Monovale Farm draft as Lot 1064 during Book 2 at the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale that starts at Karaka on January 27. – NZ Racing Desk