French import Gold Trip has failed a race-eve veterinary check and will not run in the WS Cox Plate.
In a decision that is at odds with trainer Ciaron Maher’s opinion, Racing Victoria veterinarians ruled Gold Trip couldn’t take his place in the $5 million race because of lameness.
Gold Trip was found to be sore in two places on Thursday.
Another inspection on Friday morning sealed the horse’s fate, finding the issue had not improved enough to allow the well-credentialed entire to line up against an elite field of weight-for-age stars at Moonee Valley.
Maher and his co-trainer David Eustace have always maintained Gold Trip was fit to race after passing mandatory Racing Victoria scans since arriving in Australia.
Gold Trip’s champion jockey Damien Oliver also backed the stable’s assessment after riding the five-year-old in a track gallop last week.
“I find it unusual that no one asked me how the horse felt because I am the one putting my neck on the line riding the horse,” Oliver said.
“For me, he’s sound and I have no problems with his action.
“I haven’t volunteered this horse isn’t right. The horse felt fine to me last week when I galloped him.”
Racing Victoria revealed a panel of six veterinarians had examined Gold Trip in the past 24 hours.
“(They) have been unanimous in their decision that the lameness displayed by the horse was not at an acceptable level to pass a pre-race veterinary inspection,” a Racing Victoria statement said.
New Zealand star Callsign Mav was also under a fitness cloud but was cleared to start after trotting up soundly on Friday morning.
Gold Trip’s absence reduces the Cox Plate field to nine runners and is another spring carnival blow to the Maher-Eustace stable.
The all-conquering yard was left with Gold Trip as its only Cox Plate acceptor when last year’s winner Sir Dragonet was put down after suffering a serious injury during a track gallop.Internet Explorer Channel Network