The man who changed the face of the Melbourne Cup, legendary Irish training wizard Dermot Weld, has laid down a key change he believes could help save the famous race from a tragic spate of horse deaths.
Weld’s memorable victory with Vintage Crop in 1993 heralded a new era for the Melbourne Cup, which then became a truly international contest after previously only attracting the best stayers from Australia and New Zealand.
Ever since Vintage Crop became the first northern hemisphere-trained horse to win the Melbourne Cup there has been a growing wave of international runners – including foreign winners in three of the last four years.
But imports are perishing in the Melbourne Cup at an alarming rate, most recently Aidan O’Brien’s galloper Anthony Van Dyck.
Dermot Weld says the VRC and Racing Australia are doing their best to get to the bottom of the fatality issue.Source:News Limited
Weld, speaking to Racenet from Ireland, believes more must now be done in Europe before Melbourne Cup horses leave their home countries.
“I would say for horses that are coming from Europe to run in next year’s Melbourne Cup, it might be helpful if they had a full body scan and a CT scan of their fetlock joints done before they leave Europe,” 72-year-old Weld told Racenet.
“Before the horse leaves his own country if the horse had been checked out thoroughly in every possible way, and scans were all good and everything was all good, then there should be no worries.
“I think that is better than going to Australia and then there is a lot of cost involved in bringing these horses down and they are being examined pre-race and then there is always controversy and debate over scans and whether the horse should be let run or not.”
Dermot Weld in 1993 with Melbourne Cup history-maker Vintage Crop.Source:News Corp Australia
Weld, who also enjoyed a famous Melbourne Cup victory with Media Puzzle in 2002, used to regularly claim the Flemington track was too hard and launch an annual call for more water to be applied to the surface.
However, watching from afar, he now believes the Flemington track is fine and feels Racing Victoria and the Victoria Racing Club aren’t at fault and are doing their best to get to the bottom of the worrying fatality issue.
The renowned pioneer of global racing, whose win with Vintage Crop radically changed how all major racing centres viewed the Melbourne Cup, also won’t point the finger of blame at modern training methods or the way overseas horses are campaigning before the Cup.
“I don’t think it’s down to the way the horses are being raced or trained, no, I don’t think anything has really changed as we have always had to be very careful training horses,” Weld said.
Dermot Weld kisses the Melbourne Cup after winning it with Media Puzzle in 2002.Source:News Limited
“I don’t think there is an easy solution to it.
“I think the tracks have improved and the VRC has done everything possible to improve the situation. I don’t think you can apportion blame to anybody in Australia. Everyone is trying to do their best.”
Racing Victoria has vowed to leave no stone unturned as part of its sweeping Melbourne Cup fatality review in relation to Anthony Van Dyck.
As part of its investigation, RV will be interviewing O’Brien, who lost Anthony Van Dyck and Wichita this spring and Thecliffsofmoher in the 2018 Melbourne Cup.
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Sky Racing News Update: November 10th 2020
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Originally published asWeld suggests key change to help prevent Cup deaths
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