Top NSW provincial trainer Kris Lees will hit the reset button with leading import Mugatoo and send his talented campaigner to the paddock to begin preparing for another Cox Plate tilt.
Mugatoo never fired a shot in Saturday’s Doomben Cup and finished nearly 50 lengths off the sensational Zaaki after jockey Hugh Bowman was forced to ease the All Star Mile winner out of the Group 1.
He was found to be lame in his off foreleg by Racing Queensland vets after the race.
On Monday Lees was confident the six-year-old has avoided any serious issues but has elected against pushing deeper into the Brisbane Winter Carnival with more big goals ahead in the spring.
“He just had some mucus in his airways and felt the ground a bit so we will give him a nice break now and look towards the spring,” Lees said.
“The Cox Plate will be the logical target at the stage and we‘ve just got to put a line through his run on Saturday.
“We will see how we get there (the Cox Plate) and how many runs it has down the track.”
Mugatoo is still a $15 chance in Cox Plate betting with TAB fixed odds with Zaaki now the clear $4 favourite following his sensational Doomben triumph.
Meanwhile, Lees will still have strong representation in Queensland with promising three-year-old Midland notably headed for Eagle Farm this Saturday.
The last start Inglis Guineas winner will be an acceptor in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic where he will go toe-to-toe with Stradbroke Handicap favourite Aryton.
“It‘s a tough race but we will head up there for that,” Lees said.
Midland is a $13 contender in the Fred Best Classic.
A ballot exemption for the Stradbroke Handicap is on offer to the winner of the Fred Best Classic however Lees said it would be unlikely for Midway to head in that direction.
Originally published asPaddock and spring next for Lees star
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