STAR mare Atlantic Jewel will be given eight weeks to show improvement from a tendon injury before owner Coolmore Stud decides whether she will be given the chance to race again.
Coolmore Australia boss Michael Kirwan confirmed yesterday that after considering veterinary advice from Australia and overseas, the stud had decided to give the valuable mare the chance to continue her racing career rather than end her racing prematurely and send her to stud.
''We decided that we wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt because she is such a freak. We might not ever race another one as good as her, so we've got to give her the chance,'' he said.
''She has been put onto a rehabilitation regime for the next eight to 10 weeks and we will monitor the tendon and assess it at the end of that time. If the injury has made suitable improvement, we will look forward to racing her again, but if it does not, we have the option of retirement to stud.
''Like any tendon injury, either it is going to fix itself or it is not. Any tendon injury is serious but this one is not enormous, it's not a career-ending injury at this stage on the advice we've had.''
There had been much speculation about Atlantic Jewel's future since news of the tendon injury and a withdrawal from the spring carnival emerged from the Mark Kavanagh stable last week, with the mare's incredible value in the breeding barn expected to weigh heavily on Coolmore's decision.
Kirwan admitted that while retirement was considered, Atlantic Jewel's connections could not pull the pin on what had already been a stunning career with age and time on their side. ''Of course it was considered, but missing the spring was such a big disappointment. We were as disappointed as anyone that she would not be racing this spring, and we wanted to give her the chance to come back and show how good she is.''