Pembrook Playboy out of New Zealand Cup

Big southern hope Pembrook Playboy is out of the New Zealand Cup.

Trainer-driver Nathan Williamson confirmed the news this afternoon, saying his star pacer has suffered a “minor” leg injury.

“We had some slight concerns yesterday and didn’t know if it was going to get better … he might have banged it or knocked it, we don’t know.”

But today it was clear the horse wasn’t right and Williamson had no option but to scratch him from Tuesday’s $600,000 Group One feature.

Williamson’s disappointment was clear.

“For someone who’s grown up around racing it is more than just a race ..I don’t know what to say, it’s very gutting.”

With a third in the Ashburton Flying Stakes, a second in the Canterbury Classic and a fourth in the Hannon Memorial many were saying the horse was peaking nicely.

His stocks only grew after yesterday’s front line draw which saw him installed a $5.50 fourth favourite behind Self Assured, Copy That and South Coast Arden.

His shock withdrawal means Southland’s chances now rest with Vintage Cheddar and Robyns Playboy.

Williamson is hopeful the injury is not a long term one - “he might be back at Christmas time” – but that is small consolation five days out from the biggest race of them all.

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