Simon Miller was left shattered after finding out his star filly Miss Bux had severed a hind tendon and might never race again.
Observers knew something was seriously amiss when the heavily backed $2.30 favourite laboured down the straight to finish at least eight lengths behind stable-mate Miss Solis in the Lee-Steere Classic (1400m).
The news cast a pall over talented stable-mate Hard Ball Get's ($3 to $3.70) brave front-running effort to lead through-out and claim his first feature win the Group 3 race by a comfortable 3/4 of length over a fast finishing Fuddle Dee Duddle ($7).
It was Miller's second win in the Classic following on from Night War's triumph last year.
Jockey Patrick Carbery unsaddled Miss Bux at the 1800m barrier start where Racing and Wagering WA veterinary staff examined the three-year-old and found her nearside hind tendon was severed through.
Miller immediately had Miss Bux sent to his veterinary surgeon to try to stretch the tendon back together.
Miss Bux loomed as a new star on the horizon with her devestating win in last Saturday week's Placid Ark Stakes (1200m) at her second career start.
The General Nediym filly scored an outstanding debut win over 1200m in a Bunbury maiden at her debut on November 15.
Today's race was run at a muddling pace with the tempo slowed mid-way. The time 1 minute 25.81secs was 2.55 minutes slower than Dino Mak's 2009 race record.
Stewards were looking into two incident in the race soon after the start and at the 400m to determine where Miss Bux was galloped on.
"I am just devestated," Miller said. "She was my best filly and I had big plans for her.
"I hoped to take her across to Adelaide to run in the Group 1 Robert Sangster"
Miss Bux was the first horse owned by Rob Kempton. She had nearly died when she arrvied in WA from Queensland last year when she suffered severe travel sickness and took six months to recover.
For Hard Ball Get it was his third win from four starts.
Miller will set Hard Ball Get for the Magic Millions Trophy (1400m) in February.