The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young stable was disappointed it had to abandon plans of taking Mirage Dancer to Sydney to defend his crown in The Metropolitan.
Mirage Dancer spiked a temperature last Thursday which forced his withdrawal from the Group 1 2400m race at Randwick on Saturday, a race he defeated Mugatoo in 12 months previously.
Young said Mirage Dancer had recovered well enough to be given some work last Saturday and is set to run in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield.
“We just didn’t want to risk putting him on a truck for 12 hours,” Young said.
“It was a bit disappointing, but the horse’s welfare had to come first.
“I know that horse like the back of my hand and he was just a little bit off, but he went out for a handwalk on Friday, and I cantered him on Saturday, and he felt nice.
“He’s bounced through it luckily, but it’s a hard call to make when you’re trying to win back-to-back Metropolitan’s but when there’s that little bit of a temp spike, it’s too hard to travel and it wrecks your whole preparation.”
Young said the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 16, a race Mirage Dancer finished third in back in 2020, was still on the agenda while the stable has not given up hope of starting in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 2.
Mirage Dancer finished 14th to Vow And Declare in the 2019 Melbourne Cup.
“We thought he didn’t get the trip in Melbourne Cup, but we didn’t have him long enough,” Young said.
“I reckon this time around, the way he looks and the way he’s working, we might be able to stretch him out, but we’ll get through the next couple of runs first.”
Mirage Dancer is one of 16 entries for Saturday’s race and along with Aktau, Barade, Delphi, Floating Artist, Future Score, Killourney, King Of Leogrance, Mirage Dancer, Rostropich, Tooradin and War Critic needs to win to guarantee a start in the 2021 Caulfield Cup.