Trainer Stefan Vahala has an anxious few days coming up with his unbeaten gelding Aztec Ruler suffering a minor setback, placing his return in Saturday week’s Placid Ark Stakes (1200m) in serious jeopardy.

Initially scheduled to have a Lark Hill trial this morning (Monday), Aztec Ruler is racing the clock to be fit for the Placid Ark Stakes, one of the marquee races for three-year-olds at the Pinnacles carnival.

Vahala said the next 48 hours is pivotal for Aztec Ruler.

“He’s got an abscess and I need to gallop him this week to make it possible to get to the Placid Ark Stakes,” Vahala told The Races WA.

“The abscess has dissipated but if I can’t gallop him on Wednesday he won’t be going there.

“If I can gallop him on Wednesday and again next Tuesday he’ll be fit enough to run in the Placid Ark Stakes first up.

“But if I can’t gallop him on Wednesday we are in strife, I have to gallop him then.

“It’s not ideal and it sucks and the weekend was hard for me.”

On the eve of a rich feature race, it’s an untimely blow for Vahala with Aztec Ruler flashing big potential after a top maiden campaign in the winter.

He impressed on debut at a Belmont in June with a storming finish and then displayed his versatility by racing on speed when scoring second up.

Aztec Ruler is $5 with Tabtouch in their all in market for the Placid Ark Stakes.

The son of Universal Ruler sits on the third line behind All Show $3.75 and Baby Paris $4.

Julio Santarelli