Unbeaten sprinter Smoko will miss the start of the Ascot summer sprint series after taking longer than expected to recover from bruised heels.
Smoko's charge towards the first race of the series - the $100,000 RS Crawford Stakes (1000m) on Saturday week - was derailed when he pulled up sore after his last-start win.
The four-year-old led all the way to beat Tiger Pete by 2¼ lengths last month, extending his unbeaten streak to five.
Ross Price, who trains in partnership with his son Clint, said Smoko had been back in work for only four days.
The son of Snitzel will miss the Crawford and is also likely to miss the $100,000 Summer Scorcher (1000m) on January 1.
The final two races of the sprint series, the $100,000 WATC Stakes (1100m) and Miss Andretti Stakes (1200m), are on January 11 and 25.
"It took him a bit longer to get over the bruised heels," Price said.
"We had to wait a bit longer than we thought to bring him back in.
"He's just been wading at the beach and we'll wait and see how he comes up. He won't race until the new year, but we won't know until we start working him.
"With a horse like him you have to make sure they're right."
Smoko has created a big impression, drawing comparisons with top sprinter Barakey after scoring by a combined 16 lengths in his five victories.
Price said his smart debut winner My Sister Lil was likely to be aimed at the $250,000 WA Oaks (2400m) in March.
My Sister Lil, who is also by popular sire Snitzel, beat Shalo by a neck over 1200m at Ascot last month.
"We put her straight out for a little break and she might head to the Oaks," Price said. "She's bred to get over a bit of a trip."
·Trainer Wally Mitchell unveiled a potential top filly yesterday when Jungle Mak won the Westspeed Plate (1100m) on debut at Ascot.
Ridden by Craig Staples, Jungle Mak ($2.40 favourite) ran on from fourth on the turn to gun down Ripper Red ($5) by half a length.
·Jockey Jarrad Noske copped a 15-day suspension for careless riding on Hamlet in race one yesterday. He will miss Saturday week's CB Cox Stakes.