Neil Wilson (Image: VRC)

Neil Wilson (Image: VRC)

Wilson: Changes set 'global standard'

Victoria Racing Club Chairman Neil Wilson has labelled key reforms to the spring Carnival and international competition in the Melbourne Cup as the 'new global standard for horse and jockey safety'.

Wilson, along with Racing Victoria Chairman Brian Kruger and RV Executive General Manager - Integrity Services, Jamie Stier, announced the changes on Wednesday which will have a significant impact on the VRC's showpiece race.

Key changes feature increased scrutiny on horses that travel to Australia from overseas to compete in the Spring Carnival, including increased scans before they depart and after arriving in Australia, plus restrictions on the number of times Melbourne Cup horses can race while here.

Horses that have had a previous major fracture or orthopedic surgery will be excluded from travelling and entering quarantine at Werribee, while an RV-appointed vet will conduct a pre-travel examination in quarantine within a week of them travelling to Australia.

Dedicated RV-appointed veterinary staff will provide and/or oversee veterinary clinical services for international horses at Werribee instead of stables appointing their own private veterinarians.

There will also be enhanced oversight, which will include new trackwork monitoring processes and systems along with the world-first introduction of cortisol analysis to monitor stress levels in international horses.

"These initiatives will set a new global standard for horse and jockey safety with the introduction of some of the world's most stringent pre-travel and pre-race veterinary screening processes," Wilson said.

"This review is an important milestone in the history of the Melbourne Cup, the Spring Racing Carnival, and indeed for the broader national and global racing community.

"We have said consistently that we want to see Australia's greatest race become its safest. While today's announcement will see new requirements for this year's Melbourne Cup, we are committed to a continuous review and improvement approach.

"Advances in information, technology, science and research will be considered by the industry on an ongoing basis to ensure we are taking advantage of every opportunity to further improve the safety of our sport."

Click here to read the full report considered by the RV and VRC Boards.

Click here to read the fatality report for Anthony Van Dyck.

WATCH: The full RV/VRC press conference

Members of RV's vet, racing and equine welfare teams, plus VRC director and Godolphin Australia managing director Vin Cox, renowned vet Dr David Sykes and leading New South Wales-based trainer Chris Waller were key members of the working group that finalised the review.

The review saw more than more than 65 local and international stakeholders consulted including vets, trainers, owners, jockeys, track managers and racing clubs.

Wilson said the VRC had been 'deeply involved' during each step of the review with RV.

"In December 2020, the VRC presented to Racing Victoria a number of recommendations specifically aimed at improving the safety of the Melbourne Cup," he said.

"On behalf of the VRC I would like to thank Racing Victoria and the working group for the thorough review they have conducted and for incorporating our recommendations.

"The VRC fully supports the recommendations announced today."