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‘Nuclear scan’ makes it impossible to come to Melbourne Cup: O’Brien

Nick Williams, part-owner of last year’s Cup winner Twilight Payment, doubled down on O’Brien’s comments with Gerard Whateley on SEN on Thursday.

“I don’t think it’s Aidan being dramatic,” Williams said.

“There are some practical issues. Apart from anything else to be frank, I’m not that keen on allowing our horses to be scanned for no good reason. It’s not without risk and it just doesn’t seem to be all that logical now I’ve become better informed about it.”

Williams said the biggest issue with the ‘full body nuclear scan’ is the treatment is invasive and stops a horse from training for at least a week. Williams added there was doubt around whether Twilight Payment and Master Of Reality would travel this year.

“It does [put doubt on them travelling], no question about that,” he said.

“But it’s not about our horses, it’s about what RV have to do and what the VRC have to do. They have to protect the integrity of our race.”

However, Godolphin’s British trainer Charlie Appleby put this year’s Melbourne Cup firmly in his travel plans after the win of his stayer Kemari in the group 2 Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot.

A northern hemisphere-bred three-year-old, Appleby said his rising stayer fits a similar profile to his 2018 Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter.

Trainer Charlie Appleby with Cross Counter at the 2018 Melbourne Cup.

Trainer Charlie Appleby with Cross Counter at the 2018 Melbourne Cup.Credit:Getty Images

“We all know that in the last few years, three-year-olds in the Melbourne Cup have produced the goods,” Appleby said post-race.

“Whether he’ll get to that level we’ll see but as always we’ll enjoy today and have the discussions with our principals and managers during the next few weeks and map the autumn out.”

2017 Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling, 2019 placegetter Il Paradiso and 2020 runner-up Tiger Moth were also northern hemisphere-bred three-year-olds who ran well in the 3200-metre handicap.

The TAB on Thursday morning installed Kemari at $26 for the Melbourne Cup.

“As we all know, if you’re to step up to that level, to be able to stay is the most important thing but if you’ve got that acceleration which he has, William said he’s got a turn of foot,” Appleby told Sky Sports Racing.

“We’ll enjoy today and then we’ll start to map out the rest of the season. A three-year-old and what he’s achieved so far, [the Melbourne Cup] has to certainly be on the radar.”

Jockey William Buick said he believed Kemari, who was bred by Luca and Sara Cumani, was a Melbourne Cup horse in the making.

“I’d be very surprised if they don’t have one eye on that race,” Buick told Sky Sports Racing.

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