In a move that may yet further damage the Melbourne Cup, rather than help it, Racing Victoria has confirmed it will retain its tough stance on veterinary checks for international horses. This affects the Spring Carnival 2023.
Horses not only prep elsewhere, Sydney being a great pointer for some, but they may now not come at all.
Working Group Decides on Only Minor Changes
Racing Victoria has an associated international working group. This is made up of a number of stakeholders which includes trainers and vets. Together, they reviewed the safety standards following the last Spring Carnival.
Following this review, the group has decided that international trainers must still submit their horses for MRI or CT scans. These must be approved by Racing Victoria’s veterinary panel before a horse can travel.
There has been one minor alteration. X-rays will now no longer be a compulsory move for international horses. RV however can still demand that trainers produce a radiograph of “selected” horses.
Officials will also now appoint a case manager for international horses. The case manager will work as a point of contact for trainers. This is said to attempt to help communication. International trainers however still have a major issue with these protocols.
Why Are the Checks so Controversial?
Top international trainer, Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien, hasn’t raced a horse at the Spring Carnival since compulsory scans were introduced. His son Joseph, a two-time winner of the Melbourne Cup, has also steered clear and has targeted Sydney.
Charlie Appleby, another Melbourne Cup winner and arguably no.1 trainer in the world, has also stayed away since the scans were introduced.
These trainers are masters of their craft and their opinion should count. These checks are intrusive. Other targets exist around the world, indeed in Australia too, and mean trainers have no qualms about heading elsewhere.
The major point to be made is that, though tragedies have happened, they are not simply because horses have travelled. Top English and Irish horses are sent to Dubai, Hong Kong, USA and across Europe without issues.
Much more pertinently, they are sent to Sydney without problems. That is something to always bear in mind.
Small Rule Change as Japanese Targeted
Racing Victoria has said it would try to convince Japanese trainers to race at the Spring Carnival. To do this, they will need to help horsemen understand veterinary rules.
Another small rule change means that international arrivals, that includes horses heading to Australian trainers, will remain at the quarantine facility at Werribee until November 11.
For their part, Racing Victoria via integrity boss Jamie Stier have moved to say that they believe their protocols have been a success. If they are happy with simply hoping no more injuries occur, then fine. If their marquee race however is dodged for other targets, they’re bang wrong.
As of now, this shouldn’t affect Melbourne Cup betting. It will however as international trainers one by one announce they won’t be coming.
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