Troublesome four-year-old Northern Gold Ball could head overseas if his racing career comes to an end in Hong Kong through compulsory retirement. The lightly raced gelding was again failed by the starter at yesterday's barrier trials and his difficulty behind the gates has once again brought him to the precipice. Jockey Club officials have stopped short of recommending his retirement, despite yesterday's poor report card and will undertake further discussions with the gelding's connections. Last month, Class One sprinter Kingston Treasure was compulsorily retired for his pre-race behaviour and will now race in New Zealand and trainer Wong Tang-ping said yesterday that may be an option for Northern Gold Ball if he is banned. 'We expect he will be racing in Hong Kong, so I have not discussed this option with the owners, but there is a chance he would go overseas to race if it came to that,' said Wong last night. Yesterday's failure continues the rollercoaster of hope and despair for Northern Gold Ball's connections since his possible retirement was first floated in May. The gelding fulfilled the requirement of passing two consecutive barrier trials to make it back to racing on September 26, failing narrowly to make it a winning return at Happy Valley. But he returned to his troubled ways soon afterwards and has been back on the barrier trial circuit to try to prove himself.