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Melbourne Cup placegetter Lucas Cranach has been ruled out of the spring and will undergo an operation for a bone chip.

The German import was the early favourite for the Melbourne Cup and had also been nominated for the Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup.

While he will miss the major spring races in Australia, trainer Anthony Freedman hasn’t ruled out a trip to Hong Kong in December.

Freedman said the bone chip was in the same area as the one which ruled Lucas Cranach out of the Australian Cup in the autumn.

“It’s only a small chip which will be removed easily so there is still a chance of getting him up for the Hong Kong International series in December,” Freedman said on his website.

“We will be guided by the vets and the horse’s recovery.

“It’s disappointing for all involved as he was coming along nicely but he’s too good a horse to take any risks with. He’s young and lightly raced, and there are many options for him in the autumn if we have to wait until then.”

Lucas Cranach finished fifth in last year’s Caulfield Cup at his Australian debut and was a slashing third to Dunaden in the Melbourne Cup.

He won the Group Two Peter Young Stakes at his only other Melbourne run in February and was the early favourite for the Australian Cup before injury struck.

While Freedman has lost Lucas Cranach for the spring, stablemate and Cups hopeful Mawingo continues to make good progress towards his seasonal return.

The Doomben Cup winner is scheduled to have a barrier trial in the coming weeks with the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 9 his likely first-up target.

Freedman confirmed the Caulfield Cup as a goal for Mawingo and said his performance in that would determine whether the Melbourne Cp became a realistic target.

“I think he is certainly a Caulfield Cup horse,” Freedman said on Sydney’s Sky Sports radio.

“We will know more after that.”

Freedman’s Argentinian import Val Champ is also close to making his local debut.

“I’m just getting to know him. He’ll trial at Cranbourne on Tuesday,” Freedman said.

“He will probably kick off on Memsie day in either the Memsie or a 1400 metre race on the same day.”

The Group Two Memsie Stakes (1400m) is at Caulfield on September 1.

Following the injury to Lucas Cranach, TAB Sportsbet had Americain, Ibicenco and Red Cadeaux as $21 equal favourites for the Melbourne Cup.

Mawingo and Val Champ were on the second line of betting at $26 apiece.

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