Te Akau jockey Shafiq Rusof is heading home Thursday to Malaysia to catch up with family.
Rusof, pictured, will miss Awapuni Saturday and the Feilding Cup ride on Nymph Monte, on whom he won last start.
He hopes to be back Thursday week. He has had 22 winners this season and is sixth on the ladder.
Replacing him on Nymph Monte is Wiremu Pinn, who is unable to claim because of the race’s listed status.
Rusof will be back aboard when the Masterton stayer chases the Counties Cup on November 24.
“That’s where he is headed after Saturday,” said trainer Grant Nicholson. “The Auckland Cup is the long-term goal.
“He is very well. I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Up against Nymph Monte on Saturday is Five To Midnight, Highlad and Excalibur, who was very disappointing in the Jakkalberry Classic at Rotorua.
Danielle Johnson is on Excalibur this time, replacing Bridget Grylls.