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Hope for internationals for Victorian spring racing

Racing Australia Chairman Greg Nichols says he is 'confident' of achieving a 'positive outcome' that will see internationally trained horses compete at this year's Victorian Spring Carnival.

The COVID-19 crisis and the quarantine restrictions surrounding it have made international travel virtually impossible in recent months, however, RA has been in discussions with the Federal Government in an effort to get a special exemption for spring contenders.

Racing Victoria will open its quarantine facility at Spendthrift Australia Park Werribee for one-way ticket horses coming to Australia to race permanently, giving it the option to allow internationally trained horses to be based there if a solution to the current issues can be found.

Nichols said the discussions were positive, giving him hope a resolution could be found.

"We were up in Canberra as recently as two or three weeks ago, had meetings throughout the day. Not that meetings are a gauge of success but there was no push back," Nichols told RSN927.

"There's discussion going on all the time, certainly the big issue is the quarantine perspective. It may be where stake groups come out a fortnight before the horses actually arrive. It could lead to that.

"I am confident that the discussions that we've had, and certainly with the strong collaboration with Racing NSW, Racing Victoria and VRC and so forth that we can get a positive outcome for the Melbourne and Sydney Spring Carnivals."

However, flights out of Japan are currently grounded, with no airline prepared to take grooms on board to fly with the horses.

It's one of a number of issues airlines are dealing with in the current COVID-19 environment.

Nichols said international horses were not just looking at competing at the Victorian Spring Carnival, but also in NSW.

"Obviously The Everest, (there) is a strong interest in that event, and The Golden Eagle as well, from particularly the Brits and the Irish," he said.

"So it has a wider ramification than Melbourne. Racing Victoria has released its philosophy or policy for the spring and we are very keen to have international participation with the obvious reason that it makes our carnival even greater than it currently is."

Godolphin's Cross Counter (GB) winning the 2018 Group 1 Melbourne Cup at Flemington before massed stands, picture Quentinjlang.com

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