Racing Victoria on Wednesday announced that each of the 24 starters in the Melbourne Cup field 2014 would be protected and monitored by an individual security guard leading up to the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival the increased security measures came into play for the local and international horses in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), and with everything having gone off without a hitch it will be repeated this year.
Next Tuesday sees the Melbourne Cup horses face off in the world’s richest handicap, the two mile classic running as Flemington Race 7 at 3:10pm (AEDT).
Leading up to the iconic clash, won last year by the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente, all of the confirmed Melbourne Cup runners will be assigned a security personnel in the 24 hours leading up to jump.
The guards will watch over the stayers from 3pm on Monday afternoon until they head into the Melbourne Cup parade ring the following day, there to watch over and record all movement and any treatment the horses receive.
“Every security guard will have a log book to record anything a horse receives,” Racing Victoria’s chief steward Bailey told TVN.
“When the security guards arrive on track they will present the log book to the Compliance Assurance Team and they will audit them on the spot.”
All of the international trainers and stable representatives had also been informed of the standing rule prohibiting the treatment of any horse from the midnight before Melbourne Cup Day.
Last year there was pre-race controversy over treatment Waterhouse administered to her other runner, French import Tres Blue, who subsequently ran a below par 22nd behind their new stable mate when ridden by Tommy Berry.
This year Berry looked in danger of missing out on another shot at Melbourne Cup glory after Waterhouse’s 2014 chance The Offer was scratched on Tuesday.
He is however will pick up a ride aboard one of two Robert Hickmott-trained chances partnering with either Sea Moon or Amralah should the latter make the field with a win in the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at the track this weekend.
Winner of the Sydney Cup by four lengths over the Melbourne Cup distance during the autumn, Montjeu gelding The Offer’s fitness was under a cloud of doubt leading into the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) last time out.
He was vet checked and cleared to run the Friday before the first leg of the Spring Cups double but was far from his brilliant self when crossing three and a half lengths away 11th behind the Japanese-trained winner Admire Rakti.
In a blow for Sydney’s leading lady of racing, Waterhouse this week had to pull the pin on a 2014 Melbourne Cup bid with The Offer who was still showing signs of soreness after his Tuesday trackwork.
Admire Rakti remains the clear Melbourne Cup betting favourite then ahead of German stayer Protectionist and Kris Lees’ Newcastle-based mare Lucia Valentina who worked well at Sandown yesterday with her Melbourne Cup jockey Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle.
McEvoy was also the one to ride the withdrawn The Offer in his pace work at Flemington yesterday, Waterhouse unhappy with the horse’s action.
“He warmed up OK, but he wouldn’t change over and lead with his right leg (going the Melbourne way),” McEvoy told the Herald Sun.
“And he pulled up a bit ‘proppy’, he wasn’t even in his stride. Gai had picked up on that anyway.’’
While admitting the defection of The Offer from the Melbourne Cup field was “a bugger”, Waterhouse was already looking ahead to next spring saying there was no reason a fit younger horse like him couldn’t come back for another shot in 2015.
“It’s a bugger not being able to have him in the Cup. We were so close yet so far,” she said.
“I wasn’t 100 per cent happy with him, something wasn’t quite right, and I thought if we keep going with him, we could do some damage.”
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