A prominent English trainer who is bringing his popular horse back for a third Melbourne Cup attempt has raised red flags with Racing Victoria’s interpretation of hi-tech CT scanning equipment, claiming “it finds injuries that aren’t there”.
The lead-up to last year’s Melbourne Cup was marred by controversy and high drama with Marmelo’s connections threatening legal action and trainer Hughie Morrison livid after his galloper was withdrawn by Victorian stewards who ordered he wasn’t fit to race.
Stewards made the order, and another withdrawing Godolphin galloper Ispolini, after results were viewed from a $1.27m standing CT scanner at the University of Melbourne‘s equine clinic in Werribee.
English trainer Charlie Fellowes, who is bringing back two-time Melbourne Cup placegetter Prince Of Arran for a third crack at the Melbourne Cup, has now taken issue with the way the CT scanner is being deployed.
Prince Of Arran will return for a third crack at the Melbourne Cup this year. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
He insists just about every racehorse in the world, just like elite athletes in other sports, have at least some minor niggles which would be highlighted by such a scanner.
“I think it finds injuries that aren’t there,” Fellowes, speaking from England, told Racenet.
“What I know is we are dealing with elite athletes that have niggles all the time and run everywhere around the world with niggles.
“I think a degree of common sense has got to come in. I think it (results from CT scanner) needs to be interpreted well. As trainers, if we are given a license, we should be trusted to know the well-being of our own horses.
“I’d like to think that if it was me, I would be trusted to know my horse and know whether they are OK to run in a race. It would be a sad reflection on a trainer if they were just running horses just to send them around.”
Morrison and Marmelo’s owners were particularly annoyed by the fact that issues with Marmelo were found after the horse had travelled to Australia, well after Racing Victoria vets had viewed other scans and videos from overseas.
Trainer Charlie Fellowes has reservations about RV’s CT scanner for horses. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
RV believes Marmelo‘s CT scan last year ‘indicated an incomplete fracture in the horse’s near fore cannon bone and an incomplete fracture in its off hind cannon bone’.
The CT Scanner, the first of its kind in Australia and aimed at the early detection of limb injuries that have the potential to become serious or fatal, will be deployed again in the lead-up to the Melbourne Cup.
Fellowes says Prince Of Arran has always been sound and is confident his horse won’t have any issues in Australia, saying Victorian vets know the veteran horse well due his past visits Down Under.
Without knowing the ins and outs of the Marmelo case last year, Fellowes said he felt for Morrison and connections after the galloper’s controversial withdrawal.
“I am not a vet – I don’t know the ins and outs of what they found on the scans, I don’t know the horse’s history,” Fellowes said.
Prince Of Arran won last year’s Geelong Cup. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
“But Hughie Morrison is someone who I have a huge amount of respect for, he is incredibly experienced and he is not the sort of trainer that runs a horse for the sake of running a horse.
“He is the sort of trainer that runs a horse because he believes in the horse’s well-being and he believes that the horse is capable of winning the race.
“He and his vets knew about Marmelo, they knew about his issues and they knew all about the horse. I did feel sorry for him.”
Prince Of Arran is rated a $26 chance by tab.com.au to claim the Melbourne Cup at his third attempt. He finished third behind Cross Counter in 2019 and was last year promoted from third to second behind Vow and Declare after Il Paradiso‘s protest of interference against Master of Reality was upheld.
Jockey Michael Walker was suspended for seven meetings and fined $10,000 for whipping Prince Of Arran 12 times before the 100m mark.
Originally published asMelbourne Cup raider’s plea for common sense
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