Melbourne Cup record-holder Lloyd Williams could use Macedon Lodge as a nursery for young European stayers, amid the “uncertain” future of spring internationals.
Williams, like most purveyors of northern hemisphere stayers, has resisted setting plans in stone for the release of Racing Victoria’s reformatory review into the death rate of international Cup horses.
Recommendations will include enhanced screening of imports, prior to departure and upon arrival, and potentially a restriction or cap on racing in Australia prior to the Cup.
Williams, a seven-time Melbourne Cup winner, including three of the past five, has a “large number” of horses being educated in Ireland.
“I have almost decided to send the two/three year-olds out here and develop them at Macedon,” Williams said.
“It allows them to adapt to Australian conditions — Macedon is very similar to Northern Hemisphere training establishment.”
Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien, son of champion horseman Aidan, has prepared two of Williams’ past three Cup winners, Twilight Payment (2020) and Rekindling (2017).
Rekindling made a triumphant Australian debut in the 2017 Cup, while Twilight Payment returned a winner last year after running 11th in the 2019 edition.
Almandin raced in Germany and France before six starts in Australia en route to the 2016 Cup.
“I think today buying established, sound horses in Northern Hemisphere to race here is very difficult,” Williams said.
“The majority of Northern Hemisphere older horses have minor problems – (and) they have never raced on tracks similar to Australia.”
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Twilight Payment. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Despite some uncertainty around imports coming to Melbourne for the Cup and subsequently failing veterinary checks, Williams is fully supportive of Racing Victoria vet services manager Grace Forbes.
“Grace Forbes (is) a complete professional, on behalf of RV does an outstanding job,” Williams said.
“It is an extremely difficult position she is placed in (as) ‘The Final Decision-maker’.
“I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for her and I am (the) No. 1 supporter of her position.”
Williams’ international interests will ramp up in coming weeks, with developing stayers Hype and Ridgeway Avenue entered at Leopardstown and Redcar respectively next week.
Melbourne Cup winner Twilight Payment and Bendigo Cup and Queen Elizabeth Stakes runner-up Pondus hold nominations for upcoming Group 2 and Group 3 assignments in Ireland.
Robert Hickmott, who prepared Cup winners Almandin and Green Moon (2012), was reappointed in February as the head trainer of Macedon Lodge.
In light of RV’s review, Williams urged the Australian breeding industry to take a lead role in producing weight-for-age middle distance and staying horses.
The 2021 Australian Easter Yearling Sale has produced about 20 $1 million lots but the half-sister of 2020 Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare sold on Wednesday for only $170,000.
Originally published asWilliams eyes nursery at Macedon for Cup imports
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