UNLUCKY three-year-old Kermadec could be a step closer to gaining a start in Saturday's $3 million Doncaster Mile after Arabian Gold pulled up lame following trackwork.
The final acceptors for the time-honoured Group One are due today, and Kermadec, the fourth favourite for the race at $9 with TattsBet, will need some qualified runners to pull out to take his place in the field.
One of those could be Arabian Gold after trainer David Van Dyke confirmed the four-year-old mare was lame in her offside leg following trackwork yesterday.
The daughter of Dubawi, well-supported into $14 with a soft track expected on Saturday, was examined by a vet and found to be suffering from a foot corn.
Van Dyke said he removed the mare's shoe and applied a poultice, adding she had not missed any work because of the problem and could still be a starter.
If Arabian Gold is among the final acceptors today, she would need to be examined by Racing New South Wales senior official veterinarian Dr Craig Suann to gain a clearance.
Kermadec, a three-year-old colt by Teofilo, has won two of his seven starts, but has figured prominently in stewards' reports on more than one occasion.
Well-supported at his last start in the Group One George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 21, the galloper was last out of the barriers, but charged home late to finish third behind Japanese horse Real Impact and ATC Derby winner Criterion.
Kermadec carried 56kg on that occasion and would drop to the featherweight of 50kg if he was to gain a start in the Doncaster. That would make him 2kg better off against Real Impact, who drops from 59kg in the George Ryder to 55kg.
Apart from Arabian Gold, question marks remain over qualified runners I'm Imposing, Destiny's Kiss and Leebaz being among the final acceptors.
Meanwhile, Queensland sprinter Our Boy Malachi showed he was on track for a profitable campaign after a brilliant barrier trial win at Rosehill yesterday.
The six-year-old, a winner of 16 of his 18 starts, including the last three in Sydney since being transferred from central Queensland to the Team Hawkes stable last year, has been earmarked to resume in the Group Three Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 18 as a starting point toward the $2 million Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben on June 6.
The ease of his trial win, striding clear over 896m in 52.5 seconds, convinced Michael Hawkes the son of Top Echelon was up to the top level.
"He's big, strong and powerful," Hawkes said. "The owners are from Queensland and left it up to us, but if ever a horse deserved a crack at a Group One Stradbroke, it's this bloke."