Corowa trainer Geoff Duryea has scratched star galloper Front Page from Saturday's rich The Kosciuszko at Randwick, citing a ligament injury to a hind leg.
The stable announced on Twitter shortly after midday Thursday that the joint-topweight for the $1.3 million sprint "has hurt himself and has been scratched from The Kosciuszko. We are broken."
Duryea Racing alluded to last year's injury to Front Page when the gelding was already on the way to Sydney, saying "Does lightning strike twice? Apparently!"
It's also another blow for hundreds of members of Wagga's Farrer Hotel Super Punters Club (SPC) which had teamed up with the Southern District hope for the second year running.
The SPC also had its first choice scratched the first time it drew a slot in the race, in 2018.
"Disappointed mate. Disappointed. It's just bad luck. I cannot believe it, our bad luck with (The Kosciuszko)," SPC manager David Barnhill said.
"But that's the way it works. We'll just have to regroup.
"He's had back luck with the horse. It's unfortunate for their syndicate of owners and a bit of bad luck for our punters club.
"But life goes on."
Racing NSW stewards said Geoff Duryea advised that Front Page was found to have sustained a ligament injury to the near-hind leg.
The SPC will now need to choose from one of the four emergencies in the race, which includes the Gary Colvin-trained Another One, and expects they'll make a decision late on Thursday.
Front Page had drifted to $9.50 in the betting after drawing gate 14 in Wednesday's barrier draw after which Duryea told The Daily Advertiser he was 'devastated'.
"I haven't spoken to all the owners yet, so everything is up in the air whether he goes or not," Duryea said on Wednesday.
"He's not going up there to get his bum kicked... if he's going to be four or five wide for the journey then what's the point of leaving. It's put us on the back foot."
Front Page ran a nice second at Moonee Valley late last month and Duryea had been keen all along to re-partner with the SPC in Wagga, believing the horse had 'unfinished business' after last year's disappointment.
The five-year-old Magnus gelding has only had 10 starts, for four wins and three seconds, and more than $172,000 in prizemoney. But there's now no shot at the $685,000 winners cheque on Saturday.
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