Hussler camp regroups ahead of Futurity

Blood samples taken from Weekend Hussler after his failure in the Australia Stakes have shown no abnormalities.

Trainer Ross McDonald with Weekend Hussler, after the 3yo's record breaking win in the G1 Newmarket Handicap, at Flemington on Saturday 8 March 2008, ridden by Brad Rawiller.  Photo by Bronwen Healy Weekend Hussler was odds-on favourite when he disappointed with a lethargic fifth to runaway winner Apache Cat in the Moonee Valley feature last Saturday.
Racing Victoria stewards have been notified of the blood test results and it is now believed a back ailment may have contributed to the poor performance.
Trainer Ross McDonald has ordered chiropractic treatment on the four-year-old who is thought to have wrenched his back in Saturday’s race.
"We have been working on him since the race and he seems to be coming along well," the trainer’s son Clinton said.
He described Weekend Hussler’s failure as a "bad day at the office".
"We are pretty happy the way he has picked up," McDonald said.
Weekend Hussler, the reigning Horse of the Year, has been beaten at his last four starts but McDonald refused to blame a tough spring carnival for the horse’s disappointing form.
He said his Lightning Stakes performance, when a luckless fourth to Scenic Blast, indicated that Weekend Hussler had taken no harm from the spring, which included a fading 12th in the Caulfield Cup.
Weekend Hussler will have his next start in the Group One Futurity Stakes (1600m) at Caulfield on February 28.
He needs to run well to fulfil international plans to contest the Dubai Duty Free in late March and the Champions Mile in Hong Kong in April.

By Robert Windmill