Nick Williams urges scintigraphy rethink as Twilight Payment prepares for Melbourne Cup defence

Melbourne Cup-winning owner Nick Williams will not bring horses to Australia next year unless Racing Victoria changes the conditions and timing of the compulsory scintigraphy.

Cup hopefuls from the United Kingdom and Ireland must undergo a full body nuclear scan and CT/MRI of their lower legs two to six weeks before entering pre-export quarantine.

Recent scans knocked about Williams’ reigning Cup winner Twilight Payment, who won brilliantly in Ireland early on Saturday morning (AEST), and stablemate Master Of Reality.

Williams, whose father Lloyd has won a record seven Cups, has declared he would not put horses through the same process next year.

“I expressed myself poorly (on radio), to be honest with you, I don’t have any problem with what RV have put in place,” Williams said.

“What I have a problem with is the timing of it, that’s what I didn’t get across.

“The timing demanded by RV it’s not possible to have that scintigraphy when they want them to and (still be able to) train them for down here, effectively.”

Williams’ comments followed an RSN interview on Saturday morning in which he said “100 per cent” he would not import Cup horses next year.

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Barring any setbacks, the Joseph O’Brien-trained stayers Twilight Payment and Master Of Reality will arrive in Melbourne on September 25 and go straight to Werribee quarantine.

“The system needs to be fixed up, that’s the point I was trying to make,” Williams said.

“We’ve done them (scans) now for the first shipment, that’s not what we want to do because they’re going to be at Werribee longer, which is the real problem.

“One of the things we have learned with Werribee is we like to bring the horses there super fit, so they just need to be ticked over there.

“We have a genuine fear of working the horses too hard there because geographically it’s a very, very tough course on horses’ soundness.”

RV and Victoria Racing Club adopted a suite of recommendations – including compulsory scintigraphy – as part of an expansive review into international horses dying in the Cup.

Anthony Van Dyck last year was the seventh Cup starter to die at Flemington in as many years.

“I feel for RV, I really do, because they’ve got a problem and they’ve got to fix it,” Williams said.

“I totally understand that and that’s more important than anything, it’s more important than my gripes.”

Originally published asWilliams urges Melbourne Cup scan rethink

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