Horse racing fans are calling for emergencies to be added to the Melbourne Cup field after Cleveland was a late scratching on Monday evening. Just hours after being cleared by vets from Racing Victoria, Cleveland was ruled out due to a high temperature.
“Subsequent to passing his physical veterinary inspection earlier today, trainer Kris Lees has reported to Stewards that Cleveland now has an elevated temperature and is not fit to take his place in tomorrow’s race,” officials said. Michael Dee was set to ride Cleveland on Tuesday after it won the Mooney Valley Cup last month, but he subsequently lost his ride in the great race.
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It means the field was reduced to 23 horses, but the news was better for Alenquer and jockey Damien Oliver. Alenquer underwent a veterinary inspection on Tuesday morning due to a stone bruise, but it was cleared to take part in the great race.
It meant Oliver got his fairytale Cup farewell after it was thrown into serious doubt on Monday. Oliver announced earlier this year that he'll retire from horse racing at the end of the spring carnival.
The 51-year-old is one of Australia's most experienced jockeys and was chosen by connections of Alenquer to ride the six-year-old gelding in the race that stops the nation on Tuesday. But the $101 chance picked up a stone bruise to the hoof and was in major doubt on Monday.
Racing Victoria vets conducted an inspection on Tuesday morning and decided Alenquer was fit for the 3200m race. In a statement, stewards said "the gelding had improved significantly overnight and as a result was passed suitable to race. Alenquer will also be inspected when he arrives on course as a precaution."
Oliver said on Monday: “He is not without a chance. I’ve got a great trainer who knows how to win the Cup and seems to be finding form at the right time.
"It's just a timing thing. I spoke to the trainer this morning and he's quietly confident that he'll get him there, but the next 24 hours will tell. By the morning of the race, by scratching time, we'll know whether he's fit or not.
"It's out of my hands. I want to be there riding a horse that can run close to his best. If he's not well, I'm past just going there to make up the numbers and ride in a race for the sake of it. But hopefully his foot can heal up in time and take his place in the race."
Calls for emergencies to be added to Melbourne Cup field
The late drama with Cleveland has renewed calls for emergencies to be added to the field for the Melbourne Cup. As it stands, horses who are scratched after the barrier draw can't be replaced, meaning the field is reduced from the maximum 24.
The main reason why emergencies aren't included is because TAB betting machines around the country only have a maximum of 24 spots. The cost of changing every machine around Australia is thought to be the biggest barrier to altering the tradition.
Really tough 😩🥵
— Brendan Tohill (@brendanTohill) November 6, 2023
Devastating 😂😂news for owners trainer and stable staff . Hope the horse gets well quickly
— mark1961 (@mfland) November 6, 2023
Shame to hear Cleveland has a temperature and is out of tomorrow’s Melbourne Cup. Was definitely in my trifecta and first 4 as a knockout hope. Feel for all involved #MelbourneCup
— brad davidson (@braddavo) November 6, 2023
it's common sense to have emergencies
— Steve (@AttungaRacing) November 6, 2023
Not that it'd mattered this I think but surely it's time for emergencies and the @tabcomau to upgrade their business to allow 30 numbers & 12 race's because that'll be the next step if we're running 10 race's a meeting on Saturday’s
— RODS RACING (@RodsRacing1) November 6, 2023
There really needs to be something done for emergencies. Allan Sharrock will be filthy.
— Gaz (@bothers_29) November 6, 2023
And there are no emergencies,how ludicrous!!!
Who was 25,26 in order of entry
— Mg (@SportsCh4tter) November 6, 2023
Shocking luck. So cruel
— RIVERBANKFARM (@riverbankfarm1) November 6, 2023
Melbourne Cup field:
GOLD TRIP (2) T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace J: James McDonald 58.5kg
ALENQUER (9) T: Michael Moroney J: Damien Oliver 56.5kg
WITHOUT A FIGHT (16) T: Anthony & Sam Freedman J: Mark Zahra 56.5kg
BREAKUP (18) T: Tatsuya Yoshioka J: Kohei Matsuyama 55kg
VAUBAN (3) T: Willie Mullins J: Ryan Moore 55kg
SOULCOMBE (4) T: Chris Waller J: Joao Moreira 53.5kg
ABSURDE (8) T: Willie Mullins J: Zac Purton 53kg
RIGHT YOU ARE (15) T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace J: John Allen 53kg
VOW AND DECLARE (19) T: Danny O'Brien J: Billy Egan 53kg
CLEVELAND - SCRATCHED
ASHRUN (11) T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace J: Kerrin McEvoy 51.5kg
DAQIANSWEET JUNIOR (12) T: Phillip Stokes J: Daniel Stackhouse 51.5kg
OKITA SOUSHI (20) T: Joseph O'Brien J: Dylan Gibbons 51.5kg
SHERAZ (22) T: Chris Waller J: Beau Mertens 51.5kg
LASTOTCHKA (21) T: Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jr) J: Craig Williams 51kg
MAGICAL LAGOON (7) T: Chris Waller J: Mark Du Plessis 51kg
MILITARY MISSION (5) T: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott J: Rachel King 51kg
SERPENTINE (1) T: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott J: Jye McNeil 51kg
VIRTUOUS CIRCLE (6) T: Liam Howley J: Craig Newitt 51kg
MORE FELONS (23) T: Chris Waller J: Jamie Kah 50.5kg
FUTURE HISTORY (13) T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace J: Hollie Doyle 50kg
INTERPRETATION (17) T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace J: Teo Nugent 50kg
KALAPOUR (14) T: Kris Lees J: Zac Lloyd 50kg
TRUE MARVEL (10) T: Matthew Smith J: Ben Thompson 50kg
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