A working party set up to investigate Melbourne Cup horse deaths has recommended internationals undergo more medical tests before arriving in Australia

Future Melbourne Cup international raiders are likely to be forced to jump through more hoops in their home countries to prove they are medically sound, according to a key recommendation from a high-powered working group investigating Cup deaths.

Racenet understands the working party, reporting to Racing Victoria chief vet Dr Grace Forbes, has highlighted the need for more comprehensive clinical assessments and diagnostic imaging of Cup raiders before they even get on a plane to Australia.

Forbes is doing an in-depth Melbourne Cup deaths assessment, working with equine vets to identify areas of concern and formulate new protocols ahead of the 2021 Melbourne Cup carnival.

An official close to the working group said the extra and more thorough overseas measures proposed should help “weed out” horses that could prove to be medically troublesome before they left home.

Another measure which has been discussed is potentially putting in place new guidelines which could see Cup invaders required to arrive in Australia at least a week before they currently do.

That would allow extra time for enhanced vet checks and potential medical screenings and avoid the situation which happened this year when Anthony Van Dyck ran in the Caulfield Cup only hours after getting out of quarantine.

Anthony Van Dyck finished second in the Caulfield Cup but at his next run tragically became the latest of a band of international to perish in the Melbourne Cup in recent years.

Anthony Van Dyck breaks down in the Melbourne Cup.Source:Supplied

The Werribee track has been pinpointed by some as an area of concern for Cup raiders but it is understood the working group’s proposals focus more on overseas factors rather than any home-grown issues.

If adopted by Racing Victoria, protocols would be formalised which would see greater medical scrutiny before internationals are given the green light to come to Australia.

Private vets – those employed by overseas stables and also those who consult to Racing Victoria – are also set to be in greater consultation than ever before.

Several top racing stakeholders have been moved by the words of two-time Melbourne Cup winning trainer and global racing pioneer Dermot Weld who spoke to Racenet earlier this month.

Dermot Weld. Pic: Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

Weld changed the face of the Melbourne Cup with Vintage Crop’s memorable win in 1993 heralding a new era for the Cup which became a truly international contest.

In the wake of the spate of Cup deaths in recent years, the legendary Irish training wizard insisted more must be done in Europe before Melbourne Cup horses left their home countries.

“I would say for horses that are coming from Europe to run in next year’s Melbourne Cup, it might be helpful if they had a full body scan and a CT scan of their fetlock joints done before they leave Europe,” 72-year-old Weld said

“Before the horse leaves his own country if the horse had been checked out thoroughly in every possible way, and scans were all good and everything was all good, then there should be no worries.”

Legendary trainer Lee Freedman this week tweeted he had heard about the “tightening of vetting for the Melbourne Cup” and predicted, if true, it would be the “biggest step forward in years.”

There already seems to have been some early acceptance in Europe that Melbourne Cup runners in future years will have more medical scrutiny before leaving home.

Trainer Charlie Fellowes has never had an injury issue with three-time Melbourne Cup placegetter Prince Of Arran in Australia.

But Fellowes says, in regards to Cup internationals having extra medical checks before they leave home, “it’s very sad that it has got to this but if true, it’s absolutely the right thing to do.”

It may yet be months before officials release the full results from their Cup deaths investigation and announce the new protocols for the 2021 Melbourne Cup and beyond.

One of the issues may yet be overseas horses accessing a standing CT scanner in their home countries, such as the $1.3 million machine that Racing Victoria has at its disposal.

The racing industry is awaiting results on a post-mortem conducted on Anthony Van Dyck.

Originally published asMelbourne Cup raiders set for extra testing

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