Graeme Anderson, with the Messenger trophy won by Eamon Maguire. Photo: Trish Dunell
Hopes of 2016 New Zealand Cup place-getter Titan Banner returning from Australia to tackle this year’s edition have been dashed.
The rising seven-year-old has been sent for another six-month spell after a short period of time in work with Sydney trainer John McCarthy.
“It’s a crying shame as this year looks like being an open Cup,” said his Dunedin-based former trainer and co-owner Graeme Anderson.
“John brought him back in and jogged him up for a while but we decided to turn him out again.
“He was happy enough at the start, but it was decided we would be extra cautious with him and give him a full year out.”
Titan Banner was diagnosed with a fractured pedal bone soon after landing in Australia in January with then-trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.
He spent four months recovering before re-entering work with McCarthy.
Anderson says the son of Art Major still has plenty of racing left in him, and they want to give him the best chance to prove that.
“If he did that pedal bone again, that would be him stuffed.
“He hasn’t been over-raced, and we think missing 12 months now will be to his benefit for the next couple of years.”
Anderson still expects to be at Addington on the second Tuesday in November with a runner in the New Zealand Cup, however.
Eamon Maguire, twice a Group 1 winner this season as a four-year-old, returned to Purdon and Rasmussen last week and is on a path leading to the two-mile feature.
“He’s at $11 at the moment, and I may be a wee bit biased, but I think that is pretty generous.
“He’s a great standing start horse, showed in the Taylor Mile what a devastating sprint he has, and with the spell under his belt, should have matured nicely.”
Anderson said there was a very minor concern initially that the horse had not perhaps put on as much condition as Purdon would have liked during his spell, but he had assured him that was typical of the horse.
“He’s naturally a very light-framed horse and I think perhaps the grazer up in Matamata over-reacted a wee bit.”
Anderson says he has no reason to fear any other horse targeting the Cup and is confident Eamon Maguire will start one of the favourites, should he make it to the start line.
“It’s a long way off yet, though.”