The 2011 Melbourne Cup may be devoid of any international runners if a quarantine dispute cannot be resolved.
This year’s Melbourne Cup betting will take place on November 1, 2011, at Flemington Racecourse.
The dispute has stemmed from a ruling made by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services (AQIS) that has deemed the United Kingdom’s two main quarantine facilities unsuitable.
AQIS has now named a new quarantine facility in Newmarket, England.
The removal of Side Hill in England and Ballydoyle in Ireland from the suitable quarantine centre list has caused some European trainers to consider aborting their 2011 Melbourne Cup plans.
Trainer Luca Cumani has threatened to cancel his usual Melbourne Cup raid unless the decision is revoked.
“If they stick to the current facility then I’m afraid there will be no trip to Melbourne,” Cumani said.
“The new place can’t work, simple as that.
“You’d have to float horses there every morning and the venue isn’t suitable. The horses would be nervous wrecks.”
Cumani feels the AQIS conditions were too harsh, believing that there is no risk of a quarantine breach at the old facilities.
“The tests for equine influenza and the like are 100 per cent accurate,” Cumani said.
“Quarantine for these animals is redundant.”
Renowned owner Terry Henderson was quick to agree with Cumani.
“These are elite athletes, not cows plucked out of paddocks in Norfolk,” Mr Henderson said.
“These horses pose no threat.
“Sick horses are not loaded on planes to run in Melbourne Cups.”
Racing Victoria’s international recruiter Leigh Jordan was optimistic that a resolution could be reached to allow foreign runners to compete in the 2011 Melbourne Cup.
“I am talking with them (AQIS) and we are confident of coming up with a solution,” Mr Jordan said.
“Might be within days.”
Cumani, however, was not convinced.
“When you’re dealing with bureaucracy, you’re banging your head against a wall and end up with a headache,” he said.
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