The David Hayes-trained galloper Changingoftheguard has been scratched by stewards from today’s $5.65million Melbourne Cup at Flemington, angering Hayes.
After Racing Victoria’s chief vet Paul O’Callaghan expressed concerns over the four-year-old’s action at a trot yesterday afternoon, he requested further inspection into the horse’s health this morning.
Three vets inspected the imported stayer at 6:30am with opinions divided over whether Changingoftheguard should run in the coveted Cup or not.
O’Callaghan and the rest of the panel finally decided that the horse was lame in his near foreleg despite objections by Hayes who was adamant the horse was not lame.
There was a heated debate between the determined trainer and his stable vet and emotions ran high before Terry Bailey, the VRC’s chief steward, arrived moments before the 7:30am scratching deadline only to declare that although the horse had improved since yesterday, it was not enough to keep him in the race.
It was a tough call by stewards as it was a minor issue, but with the vets not satisfied that Changingoftheguard is fit enough to run the famous two-miler, there was no other option.
Prior to the scratching, which is unrelated to his earlier hoof abscess, Changingoftheguard was a $21 chance for the Melbourne Cup.
Defending Cup champ Viewed is still sitting as the favourite at $4.80 just ahead of Alcopop at $5.