A tendon issue has forced Wise Men Say out of the Grand National Steeplechase.
Grand National Steeplechase topweight Wise Men Say has been ruled out of today’s Riccarton feature with a tendon issue.
Along with Amanood Lad, Wise Men Say was vying to join the elite group of horses to complete the “big three”, having already won the Great Northern and Wellington Steeplechase.
The Raymond Connors-trained gelding won the Great Northern last September and added the Wellington Steeplechase in July. In his Grand National lead-up he gained a pass mark when finishing sixth, 22 lengths behind the winner Amanood Lad,
Yesterday, however, swelling appeared in a foreleg tendon and connections took the only action they could and scratched him from today’s $75,000 feature.
“There’s some swelling behind the tendon,” Connors told www.theinformant.co.nz. “It only came up yesterday and he’s not sore or anything, but we couldn’t risk running him.
“We’ll get him home and see what the vets say; it could be that he’ll get to Te Rapa yet (for the Great Northern) but that’s something we’ll just have to wait and see.”
While Wise Men Say’s defection is a blow for all concerned, the Grand National is still shaping as an intriguing spectacle, with 14-year-old Amanood Lad now heading the field in what is expected to be his career finale.
He is the third favourite at $4.50 on the TAB’s final field market behind unlucky Koral Steeplechase runner-up Chocolate Fish, now the firm favourite at $2.80, and Gore-trained Tai Ho at $4.20. The Ellis Winsloe-trained chestnut will bid to complete a Grand National double for the south and in particular for Invercargill jockey Stuart Higgins after he partnered Wingatui gelding Jackfrost to victory in Wednesday’s Grand National Hurdles.
The Riccarton track is rated Heavy10 after two days of fine weather and a heavy frost under clear skies this morning.