Northview Hustler, with trainer Al Barnes and his son Hayden after winning the Flashing Red last season. PHOTO: Dan Costello.

Today’s X-rays inconclusive so now Hustler’s off for nuclear scintigraphy

Lincoln Farms’ flagship pacer in Queensland Northview Hustler will undergo nuclear scintigraphy, hopefully in the next few days, to determine whether he has a hairline fracture.

A second round of X-rays today failed to establish with certainty why the horse has bleeding in his near front fetlock.

And while the suspicion is that he has a hairline fracture, trainer Al Barnes says the horse is too good to be guessing over his future.

“He’s one of the best horses over here and while there looked to be a very faint shadow on the X-rays I want to be 100 percent certain what we’re dealing with.”

X-rays of Hustler’s off side fetlock today didn’t look dissimilar to the affected leg, making diagnosis even more difficult.

Barnes is hoping coronavirus disruptions don’t delay testing the horse at the university where staff numbers might be down.

“To prevent any delays we’ve taken blood from the horse today because he has to be tested for Hendra before having the scintigraphy.”

During scintigraphy a radioactive dye is introduced into the horse and hot spots indicate injury sites where repair is underway.

Barnes says the swelling in Hustler’s fetlock hasn’t reduced in the last two weeks.

“If anything it’s slightly increased but he’s in no pain. He’s sound, happy and bubbly and just wants to get out there and run.

“The vet suggested we might consider giving him three months’ box rest but I couldn’t see the point. He couldn’t give any guarantees that the horse would be right after that because we don’t know for sure what the problem is.

“Horses don’t bleed outside the joint for no reason. It’s normally from a hairline fracture or some other major trauma.

“Hustler is not a horse you want to be guessing with and hopefully we can get it done by the end of the week.

“It’s not such a big deal now that the winter carnival is off and anyway the horse’s welfare comes first.”

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Wednesday night at Auckland

Race 1: Apieceoflou

“He’s really only in the field to get experience. He’s not up to the other two at this stage. He’s a big, slow maturing horse. He keeps improving without being spectacular but he’s a real trier.”

Race 1: Captain Nemo

“He’s been going well at the workouts without winning. He and Franco Nandor are both nice colts and I expect them to develop into tidy three-year-olds.”

Race 1: Franco Nandor

“He’s won his last two workouts but has a tricky draw and there are a couple of others in the race who go well. He’ll definitely improve with the outing.”

Race 4: American Dealer

“I like him as a horse and he’s likely to take the most improvement out of his latest trial because of his temperament. He’s a laid back individual and looks the best of our lot.”

Race 4: Larry Lincoln

“Larry’s very fast and he’s as forward as the other fella but I don’t know how tough he is yet. The draw’s a bit tricky.”

Race 4: Man Of Action

“He trialled super last Friday and never goes a bad race. We chucked him in the deep end with the bear cats in his last few runs and I think he’ll go well in this field. He’s on the up and is a much stronger horse now.”

Race 7: Copy That

“He’s the class horse of the field but he won’t be on top of his game yet. I’ll be instructing Maurice not to send him on a mission, especially as it’s over 2700 metres. He’ll still go well but I’m not expecting him to just line up and win. I couldn’t label him first-up.”

Race Images - Harness