Spring hopes finally arrive in Melbourne

The plane carrying 19 European spring carnival contenders has finally arrived in Melbourne following a lengthy stopover in Sharjah.

A cracked windscreen on the first leg of the journey between London and Sharjah delayed the flight which eventually landed in Melbourne, via Singapore, at 8am on Sunday, almost 20 hours behind schedule.

Despite the delay, all 19 horses arrived in good condition and were showing no ill effects of the journey according to accompanying leading vet Dr Des Leadon.

“Other than some slight weight loss, which is often the result of long distance journeys, and some understandable fatigue, the horses were all in sound condition when they were inspected by vets upon arrival in Melbourne,” Dr Leadon said.

“They will continue to be monitored, but at this stage there are no health issues to report.

“The horses were absolute heroes and all accepted the challenges they faced without batting an eyelid.

“They were looked after every step of the way by a highly experienced and professional team of grooms, so were in very safe hands.

“The air quality and hygiene levels on the plane were kept to an excellent standard throughout their journey.”

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will have final say on when the 19 horses complete their quarantine and whether any scheduled to run on October 13 will be allowed to do so.

RV’s Paul Bloodworth said the company that brought the horses to Australia, IRT, would provide DAWR with a report on the conditions the horses were in in Sharjah.

“We’ve had initial discussions with them and don’t expect a resolution until early in the week after the Turnbull Stakes,” Bloodworth said.

“They want to monitor the swabs and the overall health of the horses.”

Bloodworth said that outcome could have an effect on the final shipment due to arrive on October 13.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” he said.