Mister Rea will be out to bounce back to winning ways in the heats of the MIA Breeders Plate next week.
Ray Walker's star juvenile tasted defeat for the first time when resuming from a hoof complaint at Riverina Paceway last week.
The group one Vicbred Super Series was another option for the two-year-old, with both sets of heats held on Tuesday, but with the Temora horseman set to undergo bowel surgery next week the decision was made to stay closer to home.
"We're heading to Leeton," Walker said.
"If I was fit I would have gone to Victoria but I'm not so it's a lot easier to stay home."
Wife Jane will take over the training responsibilities.
Mister Rea was outsprinted by three-year-old filly Gracie Taltoa at Wagga, who clocked a mile rate of 1:53.6.
Despite losing for the first time in seven starts, Walker was pleased with how Mister Rea returned after a quarter crack ruled him out of adding to his group one tally in the NSW Breeders Challenge series.
"I thought he was real good and I didn't expect him to go much quicker," Walker said.
"I said to Daryll (Perrot, reinsman) we didn't want to go much quicker than 54 but they went a fraction quicker and he just got beat.
"I was real pleased and he's as good as gold.
"He's leading me around and feeling good."
Walker also knows he will be better for the hit out, his first start since winning a Breeders Challenge heat at Young in August.
There may be a benefit to no longer being undefeated.
"My driver won't be shaking no more and will be a lot more relaxed now that he's not unbeaten no more," Walker said.
"It takes the pressure off.
"I'm not sure if he felt it but I didn't."
Nominations for Leeton's feature race close on Thursday morning.
Walker admitted his decision might limit the number of horses entered, but he believes the new timeslot will be a boost for the race he's won three times in the past, most recently with Our Mach Jack in 2017.
"It is the first time it's been run this way so they probably should get a better class of field now that it is at the end of the year rather than the start of it," he said.
"With the Victorian race being on it is probably going to stop some of them coming, like I wouldn't be there otherwise, but you are still going to get a field with the New Zealand bred ones and the ones who can't go in the race.
"I didn't know when they first done it which way it would work but they can only try it."
The Breeders Plate Final on Boxing Day is worth $30,000, while the Vicbred Final on New Year's Eve is worth $130,000.
Despite the prestige the Leeton feature holds, especially within the Riverina, Walker believes an important distinction needs to be made when assessing both races.
"You are not expecting to get the best of the best but you are thinking you'll get a very good field," he said.
"That's all you need to have a good race - a field of reasonably even horses."