Racing Victoria stewards ordered Lofty Strike to be withdrawn from Saturday’s Blue Diamond Stakes
The exciting debut campaign of juvenile Lofty Strike looks to have come to a screeching halt with a disappointed trainer Julius Sandhu wary of asking too much of his colt in Sydney.
Racing Victoria stewards ordered the unbeaten Snitzel colt be withdrawn from Saturday’s Blue Diamond Stakes on Friday morning due to lameness in the right front leg, despite pleadings from Sandhu that the horse is in fact sound and merely has an unusual walk.
“In my opinion, and every other person involved with the horse that knows anything about the horse – myself, all of my team, both of my vets and the owner (Paul Lofitis) himself – are of the opinion the horse is better than he was going into his two previous runs,” Sandhu said.
“He’s got a funny walk. The horse has historically never been the smoothest trotter in the world, and I have managed him accordingly.
“But unfortunately, the decision gets made by people who are detached from the horse. That is just the reality.”
The decision ends the chances of a fairytale Blue Diamond result with both Julius Sandhu and Jamie Mott aiming for their first Group 1 wins.
Sandhu said he is concerned the events of the past few days might prove too much for the young horse and so doubted he would progress to Sydney and aim up at a Golden Slipper Stakes.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said of a Sydney trip.
“The reality of the situation is we are dealing with a two-year-old that I’ve tried to managed really well and I am not sure I am prepared to put the horse through the travel up to Sydney, then put this horse through this (veterinary) nightmare again.
“He’s just about had a gut full of being fiddled with and poked and all the rest of it.
“My focus is on the well-being of the horse as it has always been and I will make a decision on what to do when the emotions have subsided.”
Sandhu was alerted of a soundness issue with his colt on Thursday when industry vets underwent their mandatory inspections of the Blue Diamond contenders, but he said he still had belief the horse could take his place.
“I did have an element of hope because I thought all of the conversations I had would have given people a reason to rethink but clearly that didn’t happen.”