Atlantic Jewel at the tight Moonee Valley circuit last week. Photo: Getty Images
Champion race mare and Cox Plate favourite Atlantic Jewel has incurred another tendon injury and it would appear her career is over. The five-year-old, a winner of 10 of 11 starts and who was the raging hot favourite for Saturday’s $3 million weight for age race, re-injured her tendon on Tuesday morning.
Jockey Michael Rodd described the development as "heartbreaking".
"After she worked this morning and cooled down, things didn’t seem right," he told Fairfax Media. "We called the vet and the scans revealed that she had hurt her tendon again.
"She's a wonderful race mare – she came back after 18 months in a paddock and took the spring by storm."
Trainer Mark Kavanagh, who showed his training genius by bringing her back to top-line racing, was initially unavailable for comment.
But the Kavanagh stable later released the following statement: "Atlantic Jewel worked well at Flemington this morning, but on cooling off was found to have some swelling in the lower sheath of a flexor tendon in her off side foreleg.
‘‘Scans have just confirmed that there is damage in this tendon and therefore Atlantic Jewel will be scratched from Saturday’s Cox Plate.
‘‘At this stage, she will be rested and the owners will make a decision on her future over the next few weeks.
‘‘This is devastating news for the connections and the stable and as such there will not be available for further comment today.’’
Her scratching means a complete overhaul of markets for the Cox Plate as Atlantic Jewel had been favourite since markets opened 10 months.
Earlier on Tuesday, Atlantic Jewel had drawn a perfect alley in stall seven for Saturday's $3.5 million race, while her main market rivals, It's A Dundeel and Fiorente were dealt tough cards after initially drawing barriers 13 and 15 respectively.
Emergency Shamus Award will take Atlantic Jewel's place in the 14-horse field.
In other news, jockey Ben Melham has picked up the plumb ride on Puissance De Lune.
With Scott Spits