‘Totally Unjustifiable’: Stewards, Trainer Clash As Marmelo Withdrawn From Melbourne Cup

The second-place finisher in last year’s Melbourne Cup, Marmelo has been ordered withdrawn from the premier race due to results of a standing CT scan performed on the advice of Racing Victoria veterinarians. A statement released Wednesday evening said that the scan revealed “an incomplete fracture in the horse’s near fore cannon bone and an incomplete fracture in its off hind cannon bone,” but trainer Hughie Morrison disagrees with that interpretation.

“The technology has been there for only six weeks and the conclusions drawn are completely different to the analysis and report done by the world renowned and the very eminent Dr. Ian Wright at Newmarket,” Morrison told racing.com.au. “Ian Wright has been dealing with CT scanners for years. He has viewed the scans and categorically said it is totally unjustifiable for this horse not to run in the Melbourne Cup.

“It is nothing to do with a fracture or incomplete fracture, it is bone remodeling.”

Dr. Wright wrote in a letter to Racing Victoria that Marmelo’s scratch “was not justified,” according to theage.com.au, and the horse breezed on Thursday morning.

“We provided them with a vet certificate because the horse is absolutely sound,” said owner Aziz Kheir, who is reported to be considering legal action. “And we also provided them with three independent expert reports saying the horse is fine to run in the Melbourne Cup.

“My view is – and it’s only my view – this is an opportunistic time for Racing Victoria to create a media stunt to say, ‘we’re doing everything best for the horses’. The horse’s welfare is paramount to us and if he’s not right we would scratch him.”

Another Melbourne Cup hopeful, Ispolini, was also withdrawn due to the results of his CT scan. In that case, the Racing Victoria report indicated that the scan revealed “pre-fracture pathology within the horse’s right front cannon bone.” Ispolini is trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin.

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