Trainer Paul Butterworth has revealed the shock at discovering his stable star Capital Gain had raced with a fractured skull, before confirming the Group 1 JJ Atkins winner is on track for an Australian Derby campaign this Autumn.
Puzzled by the gelding’s below-par performances in the Winning Rupert and Vo Rogue Plates in December, Butterworth sent the gelding for a full-body scan.
The vet reported the gelding had indeed suffered a fractured skull, likely in the fortnight leading up to the Vo Rogue Plate won by Pierata.
“The only explanation I can think of is he’s done it in the sand roll, but there was no cuts or abrasions on his head,” Butterworth said.
“To think he’s only been beaten six-and-a-half lengths in the Vo Rogue with a fractured skull…”
Butterworth sent the gelding for a short break before resuming light work on the water walker at Washpool Lodge, Aratula.
“The fracture has calcified and he’s returned to full work and is back to his normal self … he’s going super,” Butterworth said.
Capital Gain is due to trial at Deagon next Tuesday before he resumes either at Doomben in a QTIS 3YO over 1350m, or in the G2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on February 24.
Butterworth has always maintained Capital Gain would be a staying three-year-old. He plans to target the Rosehill and Randwick Guineas’ before a possible tilt at the Australian Derby (2400m) on April 7.
Butterworth will make the long trip to Rockhampton again on Thursday where he has trained nine winners from his last 12 starters.
There, he will seek ballot exemption for the $125,000 QTIS Jewel 3YO race with Wonder Boom in the QTIS Three-Years-Old Handicap (1100m), with apprentice rider Corey Bayliss to claim 1.5kg.
Despite lining up against the QTIS Horse of the Year, Paradis Imperial (64kg), Butterworth is confident his charge is much better suited at the weights.
“I can’t see him getting beaten,” Butterworth said.
Butterworth will also saddle-up gelding Jetintoit at Callaghan Park, who will look to continue his 100% strike-rate at the track after a luckless run at the Sunshine Coast on January 21.
“I was disappointed with the ride last time. The instruction was to get to the outside but the rider rode for luck and it never came,” Butterworth said.