Brown Panther will be allowed to take his position in the 2013 Melbourne Cup field despite one of his travelling staff, Andrew Jackson, being sent back to England after breaking into the quarantine centre at Werribee on Saturday night.
Jackson reportedly jumped three fences to get into the International Equine Centre, in what was a major breach of Australian Government Quarantine Protocol, but there are no suggestions of foul play and the quarantine status of Brown Panther or the other foreign raiders, that will be make up almost half of the 2013 Melbourne Cup field, has not been affected.
Racing Victoria International Recruitment Officer Leigh Jordon told The Racing Post in England that Jackson would be sent home and confirmed that the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry [DAFF], who regulate the equine quarantine restrictions in Australia, were happy with the way that the incident was handled.
“We can confirm that one of the stable staff with Brown Panther breached quarantine on Saturday night at the TAB Werribee International Horse Centre when he entered and left the stables without following the necessary protocols around showering and the changing of clothes,” Jordon said.
“Following consultation with DAFF and the horse’s trainer it has been determined that the staff member will return home to England, while another remains to oversee the horse’s preparation.
“DAFF are satisfied with the immediate action taken by our quarantine supervisors in ensuring that the staff member was subsequently showered and his clothes detained before leaving the racetrack.
“This incident has had no impact on the quarantine status of horses in the Newminster Stable at the TAB Werribee International Horse Centre and there is absolutely no suggestion of foul play.”
Brown Panther’s trainer Tom Dascombe is set to arrive in Australia later today to take over the preparations of Brown Panther and was clearly shocked at the actions of Jackson who he regularly sends overseas with his horses.
“He is my longest-serving member of staff and I feel very disappointed and let down by him,” Dascombe said.
“He has travelled horses to Dubai, America and Turkey for me and never done anything like this; it is quite out of character.
“It’s rather embarrassing and all I can do is apologise.”
Racing Victoria has attempted to get Brown Panther to Australia for the Melbourne Cup for the past couple of years and the Shirocco entire is currently available at 2013 Melbourne Cup odds of $21.
The five-year-old started his 2013 campaign with impressive wins in the Listed Pontefract Castle Stakes (2413m) and the Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3218m) but missed a start in the Group 1 Irish St Leger due to a minor injury before finishing a disappointing fifth in the Listed Foundation Stakes (1986m).
Brown Panther has form around a number of imported stayers that have already had success in Australia including Masked Marvel, Sea Moon and Jet Away.