Snipers season over

Record: 20 starts, 14 wins, three placings, $842,792 in stakes.

Highlight: Crowned Inter Dominion Pacing champion last Saturday after undefeated series.

Prognosis: Out of training for six months, possible return for next season’s NZ Cup.

By Michael Guerin

Inter Dominion champion Ultimate Sniper has had his season ended just days after sweeping the series.

 The four-year-old pacing superstar has been diagnosed with a small hole in a suspensory which vets believe could have even happened during last Saturday’s $500,000 grand final victory at Alexandra Park.

 But co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen is hopeful the brave pacer can make it back to the track for next year’s New Zealand Cup.

 Ultimate Sniper was diagnosed with the problem after undergoing scintigraphy in Matamata early this week and Rasmussen says the vets are certain the problem only developed last weekend.

 “The vets told us the hole in his suspensory was very new because the fibres hadn’t even started to re-connect yet,” says Rasmussen.

“So they think it either happened in the race or even in the paddock on Sunday.

 “It is a real shame but we are so glad we sent him for scintigraphy and that they found it.

 “If we didn’t know and had pressed on with his campaign we could have made it far worse.”

 The All Stars often send their elite horses for scintigraphy, where a marker drug is run through the body before a scan to hep detect any problem areas, after major races and swear by the results.

 In this case, it may save Ultimate Sniper from joining his brother Ultimate Machete as an early retiree to stud.

 “We will be guided by the vets but he is out for the rest of this season,” says Rasmussen.

 “But we hope he can be back in the stable in say six months and maybe even do some treadmill or water walker before that.

 “So we can’t rule out of the New Zealand Cup yet.”

As disappointing as the news is it could have been much worse for punters.

 Had an injury been detected this time last week the hot favourite would have missed the Inter Dominion and while he will miss the rest of the season the All Stars had already stated he was not going to the Auckland Cup or Victoria summer carnival so futures punters haven’t been badly stung.

 After the hype of last weekend’s Inter Dominion finals harness racing catches its breath this weekend before Cambridge host their Flying Mile Trot on Christmas Eve and Alexandra Park counts down to their Cup meeting on December 31.

 But tomorrow still sees something new for the industry with the Fast10 meeting at Addington.

 Shorter turnaround times will see races run 18 minutes apart starting at 11.52am with the whole meeting completed by 2.40pm.

Alexandra Park also race tomorrow night where Interdom contender Kenny’s Dream (R6, No.7) drops way back in class but has the gate speed to overcome her wide draw.

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