Multiple Melbourne Cup winning owner Nick Williams doubts there will be a large number of overseas contenders at the Spring Racing Carnival if Racing Victoria goes ahead with one its mandatory pre-travel tests.
Williams, who part-owned last year’s Cup winner Twilight Payment, is fully supportive of RV and the Victoria Racing Club’s testing requirements of overseas runners following the deaths of The Cliffsofmoher and Anthony Van Dyck in the Cup in recent years. However, he says subjecting a horse to a scintigraphy scan ahead of travel at a vital stage of a horse’s preparation is not ideal.
Last year's Cup winner Twilight Payment, picture Racing Photos
A scintigraphy scan is often used as a last resort and is conducted by injecting a horse with a radioactive dye to show up any potential hotspots.
“I’ve got an ethical problem; our vet in Ireland has an ethical problem in referring a horse to have a nuclear scan that is otherwise a fit, healthy, happy horse,” Williams told RSN.
“Could you imagine your own GP referring you for one of these nuclear scans when there is nothing wrong with you.
“Racing Victoria are doing everything they possibly can and are coming from exactly the right place in all of this, but from a practical sense, something needs to give.
“I’m not a vet, I can only go on what I’m being told.
“We try and do the best we can in our organisation, and we consult with the best diagnostic vets in the world who deal with a lot of horses. They’re telling us one thing, the authorities are telling us something else.”
He said vets that he had spoken to like horses to be kept in a sealed environment for at 48 hours after undergoing a scintigraphy scan and suggest three to five days of quiet work to get over it.
“When you’re trying to get horses ready for those sorts of races, you can’t afford to take a week off,” Williams said.
Williams said Pondos and Master Of Reality, previous travellers to Melbourne, may return, while he and his father Lloyd also have some younger horses in training with Joseph O’Brien.