The Jackal is out

THE Jackal's bid for a hat-trick of Ramornie Handicaps is over.

Trainer Paul St Vincent contacted The Daily Examiner yesterday - the same day we reported St Vincent saying the gelding was battling a hoof injury in his bid to be ready for the Ramornie - with news his charge would not be taking his place in the $125,000 sprint.

St Vincent said the hoof problem was not healing as well as expected and the Bite The Bullet gelding would now be put back in the paddock.

He said time was against them to have the horse prepared for the July Racing Carnival.

Understandably devastated with the latest prognosis, St Vincent said he was not prepared to risk further injury to his talented charge.

However, he still planned to attend the carnival, but is unlikely to have a starter in the Ramornie.

“I wish I had something that was good enough,” he said.

The Jackal's Ramornie absence is a blow, but has thrown the race wide open.

Grafton trainer Phil McLeod's super sprinter Forestreno must now be rated a huge chance in the race.

“We are definitely having a go at this year's Ramornie. He's been in work for six to eight weeks and he's going along very nicely,” McLeod said yesterday.

“Not sure about a lead-up run, we will let the horse tell us what he wants to do.”

McLeod must be quietly confident after the gelding's recent runs in Brisbane, which included a win in the $100,000 Pepperjack Keith Noud Handicap at Eagle Farm and a fast-finishing fifth - beaten just a length - in the Group Three George Moore Stakes at Doomben.

Another Ramornie smokey could be the John Shelton-trained Ibalance, which resumed in Grafton on Monday.

On the strength of Monday's run, it appears the gelding has made progress since his disappointing prep late last year. He has grown and it was a solid effort first-up.

Grafton's other gun sprinter Slick Nick has made a full recovery from throat surgery in January, but will not be ready for the Ramornie.

Trainer Felicity Firth is eyeing some races in the spring.

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