STAWELL - Stawell horse trainers Terry and Karina O'Sullivan have been forced to retire their star mare Exceptionally.
The seven year old hurt her near side tendon and although it was only a slight strain, the tough decision was made to send her out to stud.
It is disappointing news for the O'Sullivan camp, who were also forced to withdraw their nomination for Exceptionally in the $2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, November 5.
"It was a bit of a blow for the stable," Terry O'Sullivan said.
"Gerry Harvey (part owner of electrical goods chain Harvey Norman) bought her and she's gone to stud at Hunter Valley.
"She wasn't lame or anything but if we had have pushed her (this spring), she would have soon broken down."
Exceptionally is set to be paired with leading stallion More Than Ready at the Baramul Stud in New South Wales.
"Hopefully she'll leave a very good foal," O'Sullivan said.
Exceptionally's career stands at four wins, five second placings and seven thirds with just over $511,000 in career earnings.
Among the highlights for Exceptionally was her win in the 2600 metre Banjo Patterson Series Final at Flemington in June last year but the mare's biggest win occurred on April 25, 2010,when Danny Nikolic guided her to victory in the $200,000 St Leger Listed.
In other O'Sullivan stable news, Napthine became the latest horse to break his maiden.
The three year old, who was named when current Victorian Premier and Minister for Racing, Denis Napthine was then Shadow Minister (the horse's sire is Dam Shadow), led for the majority of the way to take out the 1400 metre WC & AC Miller Maiden Plate at Casterton last Sunday.
With jockey Billy Egan in the saddle, the gelding scored by almost a length in front of Luke Oliver's Robbo The Bold.
Terry O'Sullivan explained the reason behind Napthine's turnaround in form, after he finished second last in his previous start at Mildura.
"It was big improvement with the blinkers on, they make a massive difference," he said.
"It took him a little while before he got to the front, but he got a kind trail and hit the line hard.
"We were fairly happy with his performance."
The three year old may go further in the future, but O'Sullivan said he is likely to return in another 1400 metre race at Coleraine on Sunday, September 29.
This weekend, O'Sullivan has a number of horses running around the state with five lining up at Ararat today as well as Gold A Plenty and Fresnel, who are looking to break their maiden status at Ballarat on Sunday.