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  Colic Strikes as Leger Hope Namibian Fights for His Life  

Namibian, winner of the Group 3 Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot in June and a lively outsider for the forthcoming Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on September 10, has been ruled out of the contest and will be out for the rest of the season after being struck down by colic on Thursday night and operated on the following morning, writes Elliot Slater. This could have some considerable effect on the St.leger festival betting.

The Mark Johnston-trained three-year-old had been in the peak of good health but was discovered to be showing signs of suffering from colic (a potentially fatal condition), when visited in his stable on Friday morning. After being assessed by the veterinary team at Johnston’s Middleham yard a decision was taken to hurriedly send the son of Cape Cross to the Newmarket Equine Hospital where he underwent immediate surgery to remove an abdominal obstruction. Latest reports suggest that the Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad al Makhtoum-owned stayer is back on his feet but it will be some days yet before he is in the clear.

As short as 14/1 with some firms in the ante-post list for the final classic of the 2011 season at Doncaster, Namibian has been tremendously progressive this term not only running out a brave neck winner of the Queen’s Vase at the royal fixture but following up a month later when scoring by the same margin in similarly determined fashion in beating Fiorente in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. The horse racing odds have usually treated Namibian quite fairly.

A disappointing fifth to current St Leger favourite Sea Moon in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes last time out, connections put Namibian’s below-par effort down to the tacky ground and had been expecting a much better show at Town Moor. Fingers however are now firmly crossed that the promising performer will overcome this major health scare and be back in action next season.

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