Group 1 sprint star Sunlight has narrowly avoided serious injury but is set to miss the start of the autumn after suffering a paddock accident.
Trainer Tony McEvoy said on Friday that the winner of more than $6.55 million in stakes is due for surgery on a damaged splint bone next Wednesday but that he expected her to still be a player in autumn.
"She's had a paddock accident and somehow, she has chipped the bottom of her splint bone off on her near hind leg," McEvoy said.
"It's not major thankfully. I've spoken to the surgeon and to my vets and normally, it is a very straightforward procedure, although it's an anesthetic, which is always a risk."
Sunlight was to resume in the $750,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning over 1000 metres at Flemington on February 15, but McEvoy said that race is no longer a target.
"It's six weeks before I will be able to train her," he said. "I wasn't going to train her for another month so it's only two weeks' or so difference.
"So, it's not disastrous, but she won't kick off in the Lightning."
Sunlight has been one of the country's leading sprinters since her juvenile days.
She won the Magic Millions Classic as a two-year-old and then as a three-year-old took G1 1200-metre races the Coolmore Stud Stakes, Newmarket Handicap and William Reid Handicap.
She won the Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington this spring as a four-year-old and showed she might be even more versatile into the future with her final spring start when runner-up behind Kolding in the inaugural $7.5m Golden Eagle at Rosehill over 1500m.
In all, she has won 11 of her 21 starts with seven placings, leaving her 15th in the all-time money earners' list.
McEvoy said he was relieved the accident was not more serious but said he was getting used to Sunlight being trouble-free.
"It's bloody annoying, especially when you think how faultless she's been. She's never even had a runny nose," he said.
The trainer is unsure how the accident occurred but was not willing to point the finger at the speedster's younger sister Sisstar.
"She's in (the spelling paddock) with Sisstar," he said. "There is a mark on her leg so we're not sure whether she's been kicked or she's knocked her leg."
Sunlight, picture Quentinjlang.com