Black Swan down with knee-chip injury

Big improver's S'pore Gold Cup dream fizzles out

Black Swan's charmed run came to an end last Sunday and his poor run has been put down to a knee-chip injury.

The five-year-old had been on an upward spiral - talked up in local racing circles as one of the most progressive seen in the last six months - since shedding his maiden tag in a lowly Class 5 race over 2,000m last June, going on to bag four more wins.

With the last of his five wins coming at his previous start in Kranji Stakes B company on Feb 23, the Steven Burridge-trained galloper was given a decent chance to keep the ball rolling in a similar event last Sunday, with the switch back to his preferred Polytrack surface seen as an additional plus.

But the Big Valley-owned chestnut gelding never put in a blow, finishing a 7.6-length sixth to all-the-way winner Maximus, the horse he beat the previous start.

After such an uncharacteristic run, Burridge had Black Swan checked soon after. It was then revealed that last race has not been without ill-effects for the chestnut.

"He had knee chips, and he's undergoing an operation to his right knee as we speak. He had chips removed before, but to another area," said Burridge yesterday.

"In a way, it's good to know it was not a form reversal for no reason. He will be away for at least three months."

The Australian handler had before Sunday pencilled in the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup over 2,000m on Nov 11 as Black Swan's long-term goal. That latest setback has now thrown a spanner in the works, even if Burridge is not pulling the pin completely.

"It is not ideal. The Gold Cup is still eight months away, but we have to start all over again," he said.

"For now, we will just focus on bringing him back to race fitness and we'll see later."