Justin Warwick’s ambitious plans with Spiritual Warrior have been dealt a blow with the talented stayer succumbing to illness.
Spiritual Warrior was being considered for a Melbourne Cup campaign following a brilliant end to his autumn campaign in March.
The son of Blackfriars reeled off three straight wins including the South West Autumn Cup (2200m), Pinjarra Cup (2200m) and WA Cup (3200m).
A winner of the 2019 Kalgoorlie Cup (2200m), Spiritual Warrior has won 12 races from 36 starts and recorded almost $700,000 in stake earnings and bonuses.
Warwick said he planned on Spiritual Warrior returning to racing towards the end of the year, but his first priority was nursing the six-year-old back to peak fitness.
“He came in from the paddock a few weeks back suffering from heart fibrillation,” Warwick told The Races WA.
“We took him to the vets straight away and he was treated with medication.
“His heart rate is now back to normal and what it should be.
“He is now into a week of a six week rest period that he needs to recover.
“That effectively puts him out of any plans to go to Melbourne.
“It’s a setback, but my only concern now is to get him back to full health and recovery which he should do.
“The best case scenario is the latter part of the year before the Perth Cup or Sydney next year.
“In one way it might even be a blessing with what is going on in Melbourne.
“It takes the decision to go over there out of my hands.
“Out of a negative there is a silver lining.
“But my first aim is getting him back to perfect health and fitness.
“If we do that he has several good years of racing left in him.”