Connections of European horses heading towards the 2011 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival in Australia were given a boost this week with Racing Victoria announcing the approval of a key quarantine facility in Newmarket.
After weeks of concern, the Melbourne Cup 2011 on the first Tuesday of November at Flemington is well and truly back on the agenda for many promising European gallopers, including reigning Melbourne Cup winner Americain, after the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) gave the green light on the pre-export quarantine arrangements at England’s Newmarket centre.
“We are delighted that AQIS has given approval for quarantine at Newmarket which will ensure that European trainers can continue their preparations for this year’s Spring Racing Carnival safe in the knowledge that the required quarantine facilities exist,” RV Chief Executive Rob Hines said.
Time was ticking for the Newmarket quarantine establishment to be cleared as the first contingent of international horses targeting glory during the Melbourne Spring Carnival are due to arrive at Victoria’s Werribee centre on September 24.
The AQIS have still failed to approve the quarantine station at Ballydoyle in Ireland, making the now Aidan O’Brien-trained champion So You Think an unlikely chance to return down under and vie for a third consecutive Cox Plate victory.
“We are continuing our positive discussions with AQIS around pre-export quarantine facilities at Ballydoyle in Ireland and remain confident of reaching a resolution that would allow Coolmore-owned horses such as So You Think to return to Australia via that facility should his owners so desire,” Hines said.
The first early entries for the major spring features in Melbourne will be taken by Racing Victoria next Tuesday, August 8, with the 2011 Caulfield Cup, 2011 Cox Plate, 2011 Thousand Guineas and 2011 Caulfield Guineas nominations closing.
Melbourne Cup 2011 nominations will be released on Thursday September 1 while other Melbourne Cup Carnival races such as the 2011 Victoria Derby and 2011 Patinack Farm Classic have a nomination deadline of Tuesday September 20.