The first Czech Republic-trained horse to be nominated for a Melbourne Cup has already been ruled out of the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Australian quarantine requirements have made the Trip To Rhodos ineligible for a shot at the famous Flemington feature on the first Tuesday of November.
The Pavel Tuma-trained Rail Link gelding was one of 124 first nominations received by Racing Victoria (RV) this week for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
With the French-bred eight-year-old based in the Czech Republic however the quarantine conditions would require him to spend at least a month in a country “approved for import” before heading down under.
That doesn’t give connections enough time for a shot at the world’s richest handicap making their last-minute entry a waste of time.
“The Australian Government has advised that as it does not have an agreement with the Czech Republic for the importation of horses into Australia, Trip To Rhodos must spend 60 days in a country approved for import before travelling to Melbourne,” RV have announced in a statement.
“A subsequent request for special exemption for the horse has been denied, thus ruling out the chance of him competing in this year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup.”
Trip To Rhodos entered Melbourne Cup calculations with his brave third behind Nearly Caught in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) in France at the start of August.
RV’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter was originally excited about the horse’s inclusion in this year’s Melbourne Cup nominations, which featured 31 internationals.
“A new country represented in the nominations is the Czech Republic with the Pavel Tuma-trained Trip To Rhodos, a Listed winner in Italy and a last-start placegetter in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay in France,” he said on Tuesday.
The news of Trip To Rhodos’ ineligibility came as a notable blow for the owners RV’s international talent scout Leigh Jordon said.
“The connections were extremely keen to contest the Melbourne Cup and are naturally very disappointed that they will not be able to do so,” he said.
“While the horse is permitted to travel freely throughout Europe, the fact that he is based in the Czech Republic has meant that he cannot satisfy Australian quarantine protocols in time to contest this year’s Cup and thus he won’t be coming.
“We now hope to work with the Australian Government over the next 12 months on what opportunities exist to allow future entries from the Czech Republic to travel more freely to Australia.”
Trip To Rhodos was listed as a $101 outsider in pre-field Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The futures Melbourne Cup betting markets are led by the European-trained Order Of St George from the Irish stables of Aidan O’Brien.
Part-owned by Australia’s Lloyd Williams, the Ascot Gold Cup winner is far from confirmed for a trip to Australia however.
Order Of St George was allocated the equal 58kg top weight along with stablemate, Cox Plate placegetter Highland Reel for the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) earlier this week.
Check out the full Melbourne Cup 2016 betting markets available online now through Ladbrokes.com.au.