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Melbourne Cup May Feature No Foreign Starters

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Racing Victoria is currently attempting to reach a solution with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) after they declared two prime British quarantine centres unsuitable last week.

The declaration, which condemns both Ballydoyle quarantine establishment in Ireland and the Side Hill operation in Newmarket, England, may lead to European horses being unable to travel to Australia for the spring carnival.

AQIS made its decision due to the fact it believes outside horses are allowed too close to quarantined horses at both facilities, as opposed to the 100 metre distance that should be observed.

Currently, international horses that wish to compete in the Caulfield Cup must enter a quarantine facility on September 24 and those running in the Melbourne Cup must be admitted on October 8.

Should a conclusion not be reached, Australia may be left without any international runners in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

The possibility of such a situation has left the Australian racing industry and Racing Victoria in a frantic battle with AQIS to get them to revoke their decision.

Racing Victoria racing operations manager, Paul Bloodworth, was confident yesterday that a resolution could be reached.

”We’ve had talks with AQIS and we are in regular contact,” Bloodworth said.

”We are hopeful that we’ll be able to find a solution to this problem.

“We are vitally aware of the importance of getting European stayers to Australia for the spring.

”But we have regular talks with AQIS, and I’m sure at the end of the day a solution can be found.”

AQIS is also scrutinising Hong Kong’s quarantine facilities, claiming the 1000 metre shoot at Sha Tin racecourse is located less than 100 metres from the quarantine centre.

Should this be verified, Black Caviar and Hay List would not be assured entry back into Australia after they complete their proposed Hong Kong campaigns later this year.

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