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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By HRI Foreign Staff — The Melbourne Cup is known as “the race that stops a nation”, will be once again taking centre stage Down Under later this year as one of the biggest events in the global horse racing calendar.

The Cup has one of the richest histories in sports and holds a special place in the heart of Australian sports and any true lover and enthusiast of horse racing.

The Melbourne Cup is hosted by the Victoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne as part of the larger Spring Racing Carnival. The race itself is a 3200-metre grueling gallop for horses three years old and above, with a purse of 8 million Australian Dollars.

As we wind down and ever closer to the November 2nd date, predictions and opinions will make the rounds and the major headlines, but guide has you covered on the latest news, facts, and numbers surrounding the horses and race.

In recent years, the event has been faced with some controversy, as international horses and jockey continue to be met wit some tragedy. Last year, a fatal injury to raider Anthony Van Dyck, a seventh since 2013 to an international horse, raised concerns that had to be addressed before this year’s race.

Forty-four recommendations were tabled, and the big points were the retention of the number of horses on the grid, the change of the track rating to at least Good 4 or softer, and a more rigorous vet process. We look at the others below:

  • Horses that have had previous major fractures or orthopaedic surgery be excluded from Werribee.
  • Pre-travel veterinary inspections are performed under raceday conditions.
  • International horses undergo full-body scans (CT where possible) at the expense of connections.
  • Additional vet RV checks within a week of arriving in quarantine in Australia.
  • RV vet staff to oversee or provide clinical service at Werribee.
  • Jockeys and trackwork riders to provide report on horse’s gait and exercise each morning to a dedicated independent trawork supervisor.
  • Construct a new horse examination area at Werribee.
  • International and local horses must undergo CT scan of limbs before every race start, and those images sent to an RV panel of experts.

International horses will still be very present and active in Australia prior to the Cup, albeit with a few restrictions, especially for those planning to participate in the event.

A total of 24 horses will be allowed to be in the mix of the Spring Racing Carnival, but horses hoping to cast in the Cup will be limited to only one event in Australia before competing in the event.

The hope is that these new measures will make it a safer race for horses and go a long way in reassuring international trainers that there is no danger in taking part in one of the biggest horse racing events in the world.

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