Newly-crowned premier trainer Adam Durrant will float one less horse to Belmont Park today after talented Epirb suffered a career-threatening tendon injury yesterday.
Durrant, who won his second trainers' title with 47 city wins last season, was forced to scratch Epirb from the Peter Rudland Diamond Jubilee Handicap (1000m) and the five-year-old is likely to be retired.
"To my eye it looks like he's strained a tendon and it looks like he'll be retired," Durrant said.
Durrant is on track to gain some compensation with four chances today, headed by Big Attitude and Hibernian.
Six-year-old Big Attitude has been restricted to nine starts because of his fragility after a colic attack threatened his life as a youngster.
The flashy son of Show A Heart rocketed home for fourth, behind Vermeer, in a 950m trial at Lark Hill last Monday week and has top jockey William Pike on board.
He is the $3.60 favourite with Player.
"He's come through the trial really well," Durrant said.
"He's been a hard horse to train, being so fragile. He has a lot of ability but a lot of issues. Hopefully we can keep him going this time in and he looks a good chance."
Durrant has scrapped plans to aim Hibernian at the $100,000 XXXX Gold Broome Cup (2200m) on August 18 and will concentrate on staying races at Belmont, including today's Westspeed Stayers' Handicap (2000m).
Hibernian resumed from a short let-up with a grinding second to Fair Hunter over 2200m a fortnight ago and looks suited with 56.5kg after Ben Paterson's claim.
He is the $3.75 second favourite, behind The Underworld at $2.90.
"He's as consistent as they come and was a bit stiff not to have won the Geraldton and Narrogin cups earlier this year," Durrant said.
"He gets in well at the weights and it looks a nice race for him."
Jim 'N' Jim ($4.20), another consistent stayer from the Durrant yard, has each-way claims in the Peroni Italy Handicap (2100m).
The Saxon four-year-old ran fifth to Rantorini in the Belmont Oaks (2000m) and third to Incentive Scheme over 2100m last month.
November Red ($5) has the 60kg topweight and barrier 12 in the Miller Genuine Handicap (1400m) but is in top form with two wins from his last four starts.
Saytorio ($11) will fly the stable flag in Epirb's absence in the Peter Rudland Diamond Jubilee Handicap.
Durrant was impressed with his close-up third to Henry De Horse in a recent trial but says he needs luck from barrier nine."To my eye it looks like he's strained a tendon and it looks like he'll be retired." " Epirb trainer * Adam Durrant *
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