Prince Of Arran’s trainer Charlie Fellowes says his popular Melbourne Cup raider doesn’t deserve to be put through an “horrendous” medical testing regimen to prove he is up to a potential fourth attempt at winning the great race.
Prince Of Arran has famously run placings in the last three Melbourne Cups but is in doubt to be back this spring with Fellowes remaining hugely unimpressed at sweeping changes to international participation in the Cup.
A fortnight ago, Irish training maestro Aidan O’Brien declared it would be virtually impossible to bring his horses for the spring carnival given the new pre-travel hoops that the internationals would be forced to jump through.
Overseas trainers have taken issues with the practicalities of the new rules, which include international horses having to undergo a full-body scintigraphy which O’Brien referred to as a “nuclear scan”.
O’Brien and other European trainers believe the nuclear imaging technique is too intrusive, however Racing Victoria’s chief vet Dr Grace Forbes insists a horse can be scanned with minimal impact on their training regimen.
Fellowes, speaking to News Corp Australia from the UK, remains far from convinced.
Prince Of Arran has had a minor setback but will be prepared for a race at Kempton in early September, with a Melbourne Cup decision to be made thereafter.
“His performance there and his general wellbeing as well (will determine) a decision (as to) whether we put him through the pretty horrendous testing he will have to go through,” Fellowes said.
“That will help us decide if we are going to come to Australia this year.
“He is eight years old and doesn’t deserve to be put through some of the hoops we are being made to jump through.”
While Prince Of Arran’s connections haven’t decided on another Australian visit, dual Melbourne Cup carnival winner True Self remains on track for her third visit to Australia after her fourth Group placing last weekend at the Curragh.
Part-owners OTI have indicated the Willie Mullins-trained mare could be back again this Victorian spring.
Racing Victoria’s adoption of 41 new safety measures includes far more rigorous screening of international horses before and after they travel to Melbourne.
It was sparked by a spate of Melbourne Cup deaths, including O’Brien-trained Cliffsofmoher in the 2018 Cup and Anthony Van Dyck who died in last year’s race.
Prince Of Arran (left) finished third in the 2020 Melbourne Cup. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Fellowes’ comments came as Victorian Racing Minister Martin Pakula raised the prospect of another year without international trainers or jockeys at this year’s Melbourne Cup.
Mr Pakula was being probed about the Spring Racing carnival and other major sporting events before the parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee on Tuesday.
Asked whether international trainers, jockeys and connections would have to quarantine ahead of this year’s carnival, Mr Pakula said there was no guarantee they’d come.
“Well I don’t know, first of all, that international trainers and jockeys will come to the spring carnival this year,” he said.
But he was cut off from detailing potential quarantine arrangements after his allocated time for answering questions expired.
International horses could still run in the carnival, but would be left in the care of local trainers in a move that would mirror last year’s Melbourne Cup.
Strict quarantine requirements have wreaked havoc with major international sporting events in Melbourne throughout the pandemic.
In January the Australian Open tennis tournament went ahead with a boutique quarantine arrangement set-up for players and support staff.
In March, the Australian Grand Prix was postponed until November amid difficulties working the quarantine requirements into Formula One’s schedule.
– with Shannon Deery
Originally published asFellowes lashes ‘horrendous’ Cup testing rules
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