Melbourne Cup will be without Japanese horses

September 6, 2008

Australia's equine influenza outbreak has yet another sting in its tail for the racing industry, with news Japanese horses will not be competing in November's Melbourne Cup.

Racing Victoria Ltd talked to Biosecurity Australia about a possible compromise on the strict quarantine requirements surrounding Japanese horses flying direct to Australia.

Racing Australia received official word from Biosecurity Australia that it will not allow Japanese horses entered for this year's Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival to travel directly to Australia.

Biosecurity Australiao 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.

"Biosecurity 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.

"We are continuing to work with all parties 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.