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Septimus gets Melbourne Cup clearance

AIDAN O'BRIEN said on Tuesday that his three intended runners for the Melbourne Cup were set to enter quarantine after his facilities at Ballydoyle were approved by the Australian authorities.

However, he said that Septimus, the ante-post favourite for the Emirates-sponsored Flemington spectacular, could still be switched to the Arc.

Septimus was an easy winner of the Irish St Leger over the weekend, winning by 13 lengths, yet still managed to avoid a penalty from Racing Victoria's chief handicapper.

However, despite that boost to his chance, Septimus could be taken out of quarantine to run in the Arc if ground conditions at Longchamp were to come in his favour.

O'Brien said: "Septimus, Alessandro Volta and Honolulu are going into quarantine to go to Australia but there is a chance that Septimus could come out of quarantine if the Arc was going to come up on the soft side or slow side.           

"We're looking at Great Leighs with Duke Of Marmalade, but it's possible he could miss that race and go straight to the Arc if there was a chance he was going to get nice ground. The plan is for Soldier Of Fortune togo straight to the Arc and Yeats is going to the Cadran."

O'Brien and Dermot Weld were cleared to launch their bids for the Melbourne Cup after the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service examined bothBallydoyle and Weld's complex on the Curragh.

The inspections were necessary after the government tightened measures for overseas runners in the wake of Australia's first outbreak of equine influenza last year.

Weld, who has won the race twice, is planning to send the mare Profound Beauty for Australia's most famous race.               

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