International numbers for the Melbourne Spring Carnival have taken a hit, but are better than first feared.
Racing Victoria's General Manager International and Racing Operations Paul Bloodworth held concerns as to how many international horses would be entered for the three major races across the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Nominations for the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup closed on Tuesday with nine, four and 15 international entries received respectively.
These numbers are well down on last year when 34 horses were entered for the Caulfield Cup, 28 in the Cox Plate and 30 for the Melbourne Cup.
"Late last week I was getting worried about the numbers," Bloodworth said.
"But we had a concerted effort over the weekend and last night on the phones, email and texts and we've managed to get a few good noms in the end."
Compounding the lack of nominations for the three races was RV's review following the death of Anthony Van Dyck in last year's Melbourne Cup.
One of the conditions of travelling to Melbourne for this year's features is for horses to undergo a scintigraphy scan pre-travel.
Champion Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien said the scan was too arduous and did not nominate any horses.
However, his son Joseph, already a dual Melbourne Cup winning trainer, has nominated horses, not only for Lloyd and Nick Williams but other owners as well, including leviathan jumps owner J P McManus.
"Aidan's main issue has been the scintigraphy," Bloodworth said.
"Hopefully Joseph will go through it this year and Aidan will see that it wasn't as arduous as he thought.
"I would have liked to have seen Armory back here, I guarantee Love would have been nominated and I'm sure all his good three-year-olds would have been nominated.
"We saw with Anthony Van Dyck, although it ended tragically, he is prepared to bring his best horses."
Bloodworth said trainers in the UK and Ireland understand the requirements for travel and Charlie Fellowes, who has been to Melbourne three times previously with Prince Of Arran, is coming around.
He was highly critical of the measures when first put in place.
"I think from the time we released it, the stance has softened," Bloodworth said.
"I want to see a quorum of trainers to do it, to see how it goes, identify any issues they might come across and address them into the future.
"Unless we get trainers doing it, we won't know if there are any issues or not.
"I'm hoping there won't be."
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