GETTING Leggie's preparation for the $350,000 Grand National Steeeplechase in August has suffered a setback.
Bendigo trainer Nick Smart revealed his 2020 Brierly Steeplechase winner had sustained an injury, forcing him out of a key lead-up event.
The seven-year-old was to have returned to action in the Thackeray Steeplechase (3450m) at Warrnambool early next month.
But while that race is now off the cards, Smart is pressing on with plans to target the 4500m Grand National at Ballarat in August.
"He's just under an injury cloud at the moment ... he just banged a leg and it looks like there's a bit of bone bruising in a fetlock," he said.
"He was going to trial at Warrnambool last Friday and then he was headed to the Thackeray.
"But that's off the cards now, we have had to back off and let him get him right.
"Even if we did get him right, we'd have to have kept him back to a shorter trip I'd say."
A start in the Thackeray would have marked a return to the scene of Getting Leggie's biggest career win in the $135,000 Brierly Steeplechase in May.
The gelding has developed a strong record over the jumps at Warrnambool, with one steeplechase and two hurdle wins from four starts.
Smart, who is etching closer to his one year anniversary in Bendigo after making the move from Ballarat, is taking the setback in his stride.
You can't be too disappointed with the big win he's already served up to us," he said.
"It was a sensational win."
Smart kept his win tally ticking over at Donald last Saturday with Go Ballsitic scoring his second career victory in a 1624m benchmark 58.
The four-year-old gelding added to a list of three Bendigo trained winners on the day, with Smart's neighbour Jarrod Robinson claiming the honours in the next race and Kym Hann scoring in the last with Royal Tyke.
A win to Celeritate Regem for Kyneton trainer George Osborne made it four central Victorian winners on the nine race card.
Smart headed to Donald confident enough a win was not too far away for Go Ballsitic, the son of dual Group race winner Smart Missile.
"He hasn't had much luck on his side - he pulled a muscle in his last run, which was a bit of a shocker, but up until then he had been really consistent," Smart said.
"After the injury we had to back right off him and get that right, but he was able to get it done.
"I always knew if he could bounce back from that he would be hard to beat.
"We'll possibly head to Wangaratta with him over 2000m on Monday, he doesn't mind backing up."
Both of Go Ballistic's two career wins have come since his transfer to Smart's stable from across the border in South Australia.
He previously won over 1000m at Bordertown in February in his first run for the stable, and was placed twice in the five starts in between victories.
"He was a bit of a problem child in South Australia, but we have ironed out a few kinks since he's been here," Smart said.
"We think he's a nice horse."
Smart was further encouraged by the first-up effort of Silent Command at Murray Bridge on June 13.
The six-year-old gelding and winner of the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas at Morphettville in 2017, was returning from a 29-week spell.
"He had no luck at all and probably could have won," Smart said.
"We also have one in at Geelong (today) first-up called Trumpsta, who goes alright, but he'll probably need a bit further.
"And Mr Coyne, who I purchased online the other night from Brett Charry down the road here, might have a run around over the hurdles on Saturday (at Casterton)."
Mr Coyne, a versatile seven-year-old gelding, will be resuming from a three-week freshen up and has previously won over the hurdles at Casterton back in June last year.
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