Reality hit hard for Muchea trainer Alan Mathews when his star galloper Pounamu suffered a disappointing loss on debut in Melbourne last Saturday.
Mathews went into the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington full of hope, but his confidence was shattered soon after the start.
Pounamu never recovered after he met interference at the 200m and at his first Melbourne appearance he finished a long last behind Grunt.
It was a bitter blow for Mathews who planned on the Makybe Diva Stakes acting as a guide on Pounamu’s future Melbourne ambitions.
Pounamu, along with Material Man, WA racing’s Horse of the Year last season, sits 30th in the Caulfield Cup order of entry and has been allocated 54kg in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
Despite the Makybe Diva Stakes setback, Mathews said Pounamu would continue his eastern states campaign.
“He vetted out well and took no physical impact from the race,” Mathews said.
“But his confidence along with the trainer’s has taken a hit.
“I was hoping to use the race as a guide, but I am no better off than before Saturday.
“He is still coming to terms with his new surroundings which is a lot different to what he is used to at home.
“He will have an easy week and probably have a good hit out this Saturday.
“He will probably race in a fortnight or again in three weeks.
“At this stage we will be pushing ahead and staying in Melbourne.”
Meanwhile Oliver’s Travels’ short-term future is up in the air after he was scratched from Saturday’s Listed Farnley Stakes (1400m) at Belmont.
Miller was hoping the Saxon gelding could bounce back after poor runs in the Listed Belmont Newmarket (1200m) and Listed Idyllic Prince Stakes (1300m).
But after he was found to be lame Oliver’s Travels is now spelling in the paddock for a couple of weeks.