Connections of star pacer The Storm Inside are hoping a fractured leg won't mean the end of his racing career.
But the injury to the four-year-old's hind leg will put him out for between four and six months.
The Storm Inside has battled back from leg and lung issues this year, extending his amazing record to 11 victories in 12 races.
Emma Stewart's budding megastar produced the race of his career in last month's Breeders Crown Final for four-year-old entries and geldings.
It proved his first defeat, with favourite Wrappers Delight claiming the $50,000 event.
With that performance behind him, connections had placed the Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup and Inter Dominion Series on the agenda until the injury.
Managing part-owner Justin Baker said: "We are absolutely devastated, as you can imagine. The horse had been absolutely flying and we were just mapping out a very ambitious preparation following his huge run in the Breeders Crown.
"If you're going to fracture a leg it's always better to be the hind and surgery went well so that's what we're holding onto but it's not doing much to ease the pain at the minute.
"It's been a very tough week; he's a very special horse."
The son of Rocknroll Hanover quickly came to notice in his juvenile season, winning six times in a row over a spell of 10 weeks including four successes at Tabcorp Park, Melton.
That culminated in him winning the $150,000 Australian Gold final, but he went amiss soon after and had eight months away from the track.
After a comeback attempt as a three-year-old that lasted for just one race, a Cranbourne win on 7th January, 2017, The Storm Inside didn't return to action for almost 18 months.
The question of whether he'd be able to rediscover his form was quickly answered when he returned with a Bendigo win on 3rd July - the first of four in a row inside a month.
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