Racing hopes go out the window

By STEVE SPINKS

SHATTERED. Ballina trainer John Everson was left ruing his collapsed assault on the $250,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2500m) at Flemington today with Arena Valadora.

Arena Valadora, the winner of the Ballina and Lismore cups this year, was due to be flown to Melbourne from Brisbane on a cargo plane on Thursday night.

Instead, the six-year-old horse was stranded with Everson and trainer Sue Logan in Ballina when problems with the plane meant it was unable to transport the horse.

"We can't go ... I'm shattered," Everson told The Northern Star.

"I haven't slept at all, and I've been trying to ring around to let everyone know."

According to Everson, the plane had a smashed windscreen, which was unable to be replaced until Monday.

"I've tried every avenue, but nothing could get us there in time," he said.

To make matters worse, Everson then had to tell Queensland owners Ian and Di McCauley ? who are family friends ? what happened.

"I got on to Di last night (Thursday night)," Everson said.

"She was shattered.

"But she then said it obviously wasn't meant to be."

The Queen Elizabeth Stakes was shaping up to be quite an experience for the Ballina trio.

It would have been Everson and Logan's first trip to Melbourne, while it would have been a nice homecoming for Arena Valadora, which previously raced in Melbourne.

High-profile jockey Damien Oliver had taken the ride, while a number of favourites had dropped from the field, opening up the race.

So much so that Arena Valadora had been allocated 55kg, with early odds of 11-1.

However, Everson was trying to be philosophical.

"I've heard it's pouring down there (Melbourne)," he said.

"So the race might be called off and it might work out all right."



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