Positive reports for Millwood Nike

The racing career of unbeaten pacing superstar Millwood Nike could be saved.

Monday was D-Day for the three-year-old glamour filly who was pulled out of the New Zealand Oaks as the $1.20 favourite two weeks ago after showing signs of lameness.

That was soon diagnosed as a small tear in a front leg tendon which was re-scanned yesterday and had it worsened Millwood Nike would have been retired to stud.

“We got a positive report,” said co-trainer Mark Purdon.

“The damage in the tendon hasn’t gotten any worse and our vet is confident with the right treatment we can get her back to the races.

“We had her managing owner Steve Byrne here and it really was decision day, if she had been worse she might have been retired.”

Purdon, who trains Millwood Nike with her son Nathan, says Millwood Nike will now undergone PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) treatment and then shockwave therapy on the tendon with no set comeback time.

Platelet-Rich Plasma treatment involves taking blood from a horse and processing it in a lab to harvest the platelets, which when re-injected into the damaged area in an attempt to stimulate healing.

“We have used it before on a few of our horses and had positive results,” says Purdon.

“One thing that has changed is the attitude to recovery in that she won’t have a long break without work.

“The idea is to keep working her but without stressing the injury which is supposed to maintain the elasticity in that area.”

Purdon says with the major Addington mares races and even The Race by Grins out for Millwood Nike as they will come around too quickly, there will be no desire to hurry her back.

“At best the process is going to take six months and by then it will be winter so she wouldn’t be racing then anyway.

“So we will aim for the spring and being a tendon injury, it is something we will have to monitor for as long as she races on.”

But Purdon says even with the injury he wouldn’t adopt a softly-softly approach should Millwood Nike make it back to the track.

“If she comes back and is sound then I don’t see the point in only keeping her to mares’ races.

“She is good enough to compete with the boys in open class so, all going well, I can see her being a Cups horse one day.”

Millwood Nike’s sidelining at 17 unbeaten starts shows just how difficult it will be for any horse of either code to challenge Courage Under Fire’s New Zealand record of 24 unbeaten starts.

Firstly they would need to be good enough to win that many races, let alone in a row, then stay injury free for the two or even three seasons it might take and also avoid bad luck.

Even if Millwood Nike does make it back she will have to race in open class where there are no easy wins, especially for newcomers who have spent eight months away from racing.

So Courage Under Fire’s record looks safe until another freak comes along.

While Millwood won’t be racing any time soon the Purdons will send two of the other huge names to the Invercargill Cup meeting on Friday.

Self Assured will take on last-start conqueror Beach Ball in the group 1 Cup worth $110,000 while Dominion winner Oscar Bonavena will face a 30m handicap in a $50,000 trot at the huge meeting.

The stable’s best pacer Akuta will fly to Auckland next Wednesday to start in the $60,000 Lincoln Farms Franklin Cup on New Year’s Eve

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