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VRC Confirms "No Limit" On Melb Cup Raiders
No “cap on Melbourne Cup international runners & no bonus incentive for an Australian-bred winner - that's the Victoria Racing Club stance on its world-famous race” reported The Herald-Sun. Just 2 home-bred horses, Older Than Time (22nd in the order-of-entry) & The Verminator (26th), “are likely to make the field of 24 in next Tuesday's Melbourne Cup” & “as the debate over the growing international dominance of the Cup raged, trainers blamed impatient owners, while a leading owner said the trainers pushed local horses too hard, too early”. Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Mark Kavanagh said most owners thought only about winning the race at this time of the year & declared bluntly: “You buy a staying horse & you can't find owners.” Current Victorian premier trainer Peter Moody agreed, noting: “Pay $200,000 for a Zabeel & you end up racing it yourself. Get some broken-down stayer from Europe & they are all over you.” But Terry Henderson (who part-owned 1995 Cup winner Doriemus & hopes to have 4 starters this year, all English-trained) said local trainers were “too impatient” & said the relative failure in Australia of horses by champion European sire Galileo “are a classic case in point. He's a top-of-the-ground horse, so he should do well here. But our trainers push them early because they show so much promise; in England they don't produce them until they are 3YOs. Australian trainers train to our market. I'm not being critical of Australian trainers, but in Europe they concentrate on training middle-distance & staying horses.” VRC chairman Michael Byrne commented yesterday there was “no need for panic about the paucity of local stayers in the race” & emphasised the Cup field was “self-selecting” & the $6.2 million prize-money was “a significant factor” in Europe fielding up to 10 of the 24 runners next Tuesday. He summed up: “We will closely monitor the race & nothing is ruled out, but at this stage we don't see any reason to change.” He noted it was “a fact of life” that Europe bred superior stayers.