Field of five for Australia Stakes
Dual Group One winner Heart Of Dreams has been scratched from the Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley leaving the Group Two feature with just five runners.
Trainer Mick Price said he was not happy with Heart Of Dreams’ blood picture ahead of Friday night’s race.
"The horse came out and had a trot-up this morning, but he had an elevated white count and wasn’t where I wanted him to be and I had to put him on antibiotics," Price told Sky Sports Radio.
"It wasn’t crucial that he had a first-up run over 1200 metres and I didn’t want a first-up run where he wasn’t right.
"Sometimes you can run them with elevated cell counts but his was just a bit over where I wanted.
"He’ll run first-up in the Orr, (1400m) is probably a better distance for him anyway, then he’ll go to the St George and the Australian Cup all going well.
The Group 0ne Orr (1400m) is run at Caulfield on February 6.
Black Caviar dominates Australia Stakes betting as the $1.36 favourite with TAB Sportsbet with Christmas Stakes winner Here De Angels considered the main danger to the unbeaten filly at $3.20 with Standish Handicap winner Royal Ida best of the rest at $12.
Black Caviar has been flying on the track at Caulfield and trainer Peter Moody is hoping to give the daughter of Bel Esprit her first crack at Group One level in the William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on February 13.
"Hopefully she’ll get through Friday night in one piece and we’ll kick on towards the William Reid," he said.
Moody has put a barrier blanket on Black Caviar for the first time to help her to jump away cleanly.
He said in the past three of her four runs Black Caviar had had to pick herself up after awkward getaways which he believed were caused by her trying to anticipate the start.
She was found to have torn a muscle in her chest when she blundered on jumping away in the Group Two Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on September 5 when she maintained her unbeaten record beating stablemate Wanted.
The setback forced her to miss the rest of the spring carnival.
Meanwhile Heart Of Dreams’ stablemate Light Fantastic will resume in the William Reid.
"He wasn’t ready to run tomorrow night," Price said of the grey who was runner-up to Lucky Secret in the Australia Stakes last year when it was called the Norman Carlyon Stakes.
"He looks great."
Glen Boss rode Light Fantastic in a track gallop on Tuesday morning but Price said regular race day rider Craig Newitt would be in the saddle for the Orr.
"He might end up in the All-Aged in Sydney – he will be a 1200 to 1400 metre horse this time – he’s not going to 1600 metres."
Light Fantastic (2008) and Heart Of Dreams (2009) are the past two winners of the Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington.