ONE of the biggest stars of the upcoming Victoria Cup Carnival is out and another is in limbo.
Long-time Victoria Cup favourite Spirit Of St Louis will miss Saturday's Group 1 feature after a minor but untimely setback.
While leading Victoria Derby hopeful Leap To Fame could be stranded in Queensland and miss Saturday night's Derby heats at Melton.
Co-trainer Luke McCarthy said Spirit Of St Louis had been "off for a few days" and missed some work, meaning he and wife, Belinda, had run out of time to have the multiple feature race winner ready.
"He won't be ready. We'll change plans and go to the Len Smith Mile up here (Sydney) instead," he said.
Spirit Of St Louis will then target the Victorian Inter Dominion series.
Team McCarthy's Victoria Cup hopes now rest with Expensive Ego, who is into favouritism despite racing just once - for a Menangle win - since finishing down the track in the Miracle Mile on March 12.
Leap To Fame was supposed to be in Melbourne last week, but flight issues have him still stranded at home in Brisbane.
The trip now hinges on a possible flight tomorrow night (Wednesday) from Brisbane to Melbourne.
“It’s all very frustrating,” owner Kevin Seymour said. “We’re told there is a crate coming up today (Monday) and, all going well, he can get on that Wednesday night. That’s the best case scenario now.
“Even if he gets there, it’s far from ideal. It’s been our target for a long time and his preparation hasn’t got off to a good start.
“We wanted him there last week. He’s a stallion and they often take time to settle in.
“Sure, the main thing right now is just to get there at all, but if we do, it’s cutting things very short.”
Seymour ruled-out a road trip for the three-year-old, who has already been the subject of a $1 million-plus offer.
“That’s not happening, not an option with a horse like him,” he said.
Leap To Fame, trained and driven by Grant Dixon, has raced just 19 times for 14 wins, three seconds and a third.
Outside of winning Australia’s two biggest Derbys run so far this season, Leap To Fame underlined his huge talent with third against superstar older rivals Ladies In Red and Better Eclipse in the Group 1 Rising Sun at Albion Park on July 9.
Leap To Fame is trying to become the first pacer to win Australia’s three biggest Derbys since the then unbeatable Captain Joy in 2009.
Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s new stable addition Captain Ravishing, stunning winning both runs for the stable, is nominal favourite, while the Andy and Kate Gath-trained Catch A Wave is the other major player.
· Adam Hamilton is a paid contributor writing on harness racing for News Corp