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Concerns as Contentious Veterinary Scanner Stops Working

The all-important scanner which is to be used by vets ahead of the Melbourne Cup is now out of commission. It’s break down may now disrupt final veterinary checks.

The CT scanner is housed at the U-Vet Equine Centre. It ceased operating during the weekend at a time when 16 Melbourne Cup hopefuls are still awaiting final scans.

The requirement for the invasive scans was introduced after the Melbourne Cup review, an evaluation tasked with halting any more fatalities surrounding the famous race.

If you want to know more about Melbourne Cup horses, check out our dedicated page.

Thursday Deadline for Scans as Part Flown from US

The malfunctioning part on the CT scanner can be replaced. It will now be flown in from the USA, meaning the machine won’t be able to function until Thursday at the earliest and this poses a major problem.

Sedatives are used on all horses being scanned by the CT machine. Those sedatives are required to be out of the horse’s system five days before the race. That means Thursday is the final day that such scans can take place before the barriers open on November 2.

As of now, it seems any horses not receiving a scan will not necessarily have to miss the race. Racing Victoria have instead allowed any runner not having had a CT scan to instead undergo comprehensive x-rays of their distal limbs. These procedures will also happen at U-Vet, on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Those x-ray results will then be reviewed by three international imaging specialists. Even after the results are known, horses may still be required to have a CT or MRI scan on Thursday if the replacement part reaches the scanner on time.

In a desperate bid to have the best quality field, RV is suddenly advocating the x-ray process as being dependable. They say they’re happy that the collection of x-rays at U-Vet will be similar to what they’d receive from scans. This way, it also means a horse will have to miss no work ahead of the Melbourne Cup.

Safety Changes Were Heavily Criticised by European Trainers

When the new veterinary checks were revealed for the Melbourne Cup, European trainers moved quickly to express plenty of frustration.

Their belief was that the quality of the race would take a fall given that, for some operations, the new checks would make it nigh impossible for some runners to travel for the race. Indeed, there has been a sharp drop-off in overseas runners this time around.

It’s not that trainers didn’t want a review, especially after the death last year of Anthony Van Dyck. Prominent handlers Hughie Morris, two-time winner Joseph O’Brien and Charlie Fellowes, trainer of the perennially placed Prince Of Arran were all in support.

Those trainers did however warn that it would greatly affect the number of horses from overseas competing in future. Stringent pre-and post-travel vet checks have been seen by many as invasive, sometimes even unnecessary or harmful.

It remains to be seen whether checks next year will be reduced at all. Is that something the missing part for the famous CT scanner will expedite? If horses are deemed safe to run this year without those checks, then trainers will surely argue for that to be the case in 2022 as well.

Read more news about the Melbourne Cup.

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Gary Christie
105 articles
For more than 20 years, Gary has been immersed in the worlds of sports writing and betting. As well as writing on the subjects of sports and horse racing, Gary has spent years privately handicapping horse races around the world in order to bet professionally. While having appeared on TV and spoken publicly at racecourses, Gary has a passion for writing. He produces articles every day for various territories including North America, UK, Europe and Australia.
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