Scorpion has been ruled out of the Emirates Melbourne Cup on Tuesday week.
The three-time Group One winner pulled up lame after a track gallop and will not line up in the world’s richest handicap at Flemington.
Scorpion was put through his paces with stablemate Mahler at Sandown racecourse on Monday morning but was sore after the work-out and taken for X-rays.
Aidan O’Brien inspected the impressive stayer upon his arrival at Sandown and found him lame in the off-hind leg.
“The X-rays don’t show any bone damage so it’s probably a ligament or a muscle injury,” O’Brien told www.theage.com.au.
“But it’s serious enough to keep him from exercising for a few days, which puts him out of the Cup.”
The son of Montjeu, whose big-race triumphs include the 2005 St Leger and this season’s Coronation Cup, was as low as 11-1 to win the Melbourne Cup off top weight.
Scorpion’s setback exacerbates a wretched few days for O’Brien, whose Breeders’ Cup dreams ended in despair after George Washington was humanely destroyed after the US$5m Classic on Saturday.
O’Brien was nonetheless encouraged by his remaining Cup runner, Mahler, who is set to be ridden by local jockey Stephen Baster.
“He looks in good shape and the staff are very happy with him,” added the trainer.
“To win the Melbourne Cup would be unreal but you can’t come here and expect to win it.
“It is so competitive and such an unbelievable race.”