By Michael Guerin
Superstar pacing mare Belle Of Montana’s season is over.
And that means the multiple group one winner won’t be defending her Queen Of Hearts title at Alexandra Park on Friday week.
Trainer Barry Purdon and owner Dean Shannon have decided to call it quits on this season, which promised so much, after the five-year-old was found to have some slight wear and tear in a knee after her brave last start third to Mach Shard and Copy That in the Spring Cup at Alexandra Park on September 25.
“We had her knee scoped after that and they flushed it out so we decided to give her a six-month break,” Purdon confirmed to HRNZ.
“So the best thing to do it forget about this season and start again next year.
“But I am confident she can come back to racing.” That will pave the way for Amazing Dream to be a hot favourite for next week’s Queen Of Hearts at Alexandra Park, especially with New Zealand’s other main open class mare Princess Tiffany not returning from Melbourne any time soon.
While Belle Of Montana is sidelined Purdon and training partner Scott Phelan still have three potential Auckland Cup starters.
Bad To The Bone steps in to open company in the Summer Cup at Alexandra Park this week and joins On The Cards.
“It is a big step up for Bad To The Bone in coming week but he is entered for the Cup and we can decide on that closer to time after seeing how he goes in races like this Friday.”
The stable’s Inter Dominion runner-up Mach Shard, who raced below his best in the south, is also on target for the Auckland Cup and will have his lead-up at Alexandra Park on December 18.