Cup fancy Withhold among 19 withheld en route to Melbourne
Godolphin's Australian spring carnival contenders including Benbatl, Best Solution and Hamada touched down safely in Melbourne on Saturday morning, but 19 other European raiders remain stranded on the tarmac in Sharjah.
Seven thoroughbreds from Godolphin – Cross Counter, Emotionless, Prize Money and Comicas joined Cox Plate invitee Benbatl and Best Solution and Hamada – were among the shipment which touched down at Tullamarine in the early hours of the morning.
They were joined on the flight and the subsequent float trip to Werribee by Prince Of Arran, whose trainer Charlie Fellowes is campaigning a horse in Australia for the first time.
The second shipment of international horses, which had been due to arrive at midday on Saturday, is currently in Sharjah after the plane carrying them from London sustained a cracked windscreen.
The 19 horses – Ed Dunlop's Red Verdon, Roger Charlton's Withhold and five Aidan O'Brien-trained horses are included in the shipment – have remained on board the aircraft in controlled temperatures, and have been kept well fed and hydrated whilst the repairs have taken place.
The team of veterinary experts, led by Dr. Des Leadon, have been closely monitoring the welfare of the horses, and have not detected any abnormalities or causes for concern.
The plane is now scheduled to land in Melbourne in the early hours of Sunday morning and it is remains to be seen whether the delay will impact their post-export quarantine requirements and their ability to race in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield on October 13.
Paul Bloodworth, RV’s General Manager – Racing and International Operations, said: “It’s obviously an unfortunate incident which was out of our hands, but I can assure the connections of the horses that they are in the best possible hands.
“Dr. Leadon is one of the world’s leading authorities on travelling with horses, and he is comfortable with the condition of all 19 horses, who are eating and drinking well.
“At this time we do not have a precise arrival time for the horses, but they will be checked by a team of vets on arrival in Melbourne, as is standard procedure.
“Until they get here we won’t know when they will complete quarantine, but we are in discussions with the government and remain hopeful that they will be allowed to race from Caulfield Guineas Day onwards.”
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