Setback delays La Estrella bid
La Estrella's bid for a record-equalling 25th victory on the all-weather will have to wait after the veteran suffered a splint problem.
Don Cantillon's 11-year-old, who has also won one race on the turf and over hurdles, got to within one triumph of the standard set by China Castle with a hard-fought success at Lingfield in the middle of January.
He was due to line-up in a Southwell seller a couple of weeks later, but was withdrawn at the 11th hour after a late setback, leaving John Butler's Stand Guard to claim his 24th all-weather victory in the same race.
With Stand Guard beaten at long odds-on last Friday, the two remain tied, but La Estrella was due to return to Southwell this week until another problem was discovered.
Cantillon said: "Unfortunately he has a splint problem, which we discovered two days before he was due to be declared. It's hugely disappointing as he would have taken a bit of beating, but it could have been worse.
"He has very fragile tendons and we initially thought he'd broken down, but we got him scanned and it showed he had a splint problem on his off-fore.
"He's doing plenty of swimming, but I would imagine it will be three weeks before he can be ridden again.
"He was then going to run in a one-mile-three-furlong seller at Southwell on March 4, but that has all gone out of the window now. It's disappointing but he'll live to fight another day."