August 27, 2008

Bio-security Australia will not allow the Japanese horses entered for this year's Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival to travel directly to Australia.

Two years ago the first and second placed horses in the Melbourne Cup were trained in Japan. Because of last year's Equine Influenza outbreak, Delta Blues was unable to defend his 2006 cup win.

Racing Victoria Limited (RVL) had sought a compromise on the strict quarantine requirements for Japanese horses to fly directly into the country, but that was unsuccessful.

Bio-security Australia (BA) has also confirmed that the pre and post quarantine arrival periods of 14 and 21 days respectively will be enforced for all International horses arriving in Australia from multiple pre-quarantine facilities around the globe.

"We're obviously very disappointed that an arrangement couldn't be reached which would have seen 2006 Emirates Melbourne Cup winner Delta Blues and runner-up Pop Rock return to Melbourne for the Spring Racing Carnival," said Racing Victoria Chief Executive Officer Rob Hines.

"Bio-security Australia confirmed that the only option currently available is for horses from Japan to be imported via an approved third country, such as Hong Kong or Singapore, but given the quarantine periods required in each location this is unacceptable to the connections of the Japanese horses."

He said Racing Victoria was working to secure "an acceptable quarantine regime" for the European and North American horses that have been nominated.

"Since the outbreak of Equine Influenza last year the pre and post arrival quarantine protocols have been strengthened and we are working through all the issues that have the potential to affect the participation of international horses in our carnival," Hines said.