By Michael Guerin
A cloud hangs over one of only three previous Jewels winners heading to Cambridge for Saturday’s $1.275million meeting.
Because after stopping to a walk at the Pukekohe workouts on Saturday, Partyon will need to pass a vet test on Wednesday to be allowed to start in the four-year-old Diamond.
Only Partyon, Enghien and Dizzy Miss Lizzy go into Saturday as past Jewels winners, Partyon’s story the most remarkable as she won the two-year-old Diamond two seasons ago at only her second start.
While that was a dream result, this week’s preparation has turned into a nightmare.
She suffered atrial fibrillation at the Pukekohe workouts on Saturday and while many horses recover from that problem and go on to race at, or close to, their peaks at their next start, it is hardly ideal for Partyon.
She had only just returned to usual trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen to prepare for the Jewels after an Australian campaign and not only suffered the fibrillation but of course missed the fitness benefits of a proper hit out on Saturday.
Purdon is confident she can still make the $150,000 mile but admits the preparation is less than perfect.
“The good news is her heart had returned to its normal rhythm by last night (Saturday) and that is one of the most important things,” explained the champion trainer.
“But we will get her checked out again on Wednesday and make a final decision then. But I think she will still be starting.”
Partyon already faces a huge task from her second draw in one of the glamour races of the day but that is indicative of what the All Stars are up against on Jewels day.
They have 20 horses entered for the meeting and only Winterfell (barrier one) has drawn inside barrier four.
“I can’t remember us getting a series of draws like this and I can see it being a real issue as it looks a day where not a lot of drivers are going to be handing up,” said Purdon.
Three final acceptors withdrew yesterday, with Kendra pulling out of the two-year-old Diamond and both Puma Road and Girls On Film withdrawn from the three-year-old Ruby.