Racing Victoria (RV) advises that the standing CT scanner at the U-Vet Equine Centre (U-Vet) has incurred a mechanical issue and is temporarily out of operation.
As a result, mandatory scanning of Melbourne Cup entrants has been unable to proceed as scheduled yesterday and today.
RV has been working with U-Vet and the manufacturers to source a replacement part which is in transit from the USA, noting that current COVID impacts on international travel will influence its delivery time.
The current expectations are that the scanner will not be operational until at least this Thursday, 28 October, being the final day on which standing CT scans may be undertaken for the Melbourne Cup.
A total of 19 of the 35 fourth acceptors for the Melbourne Cup have been presented for a standing CT scan since 16 October 2021 in accordance with the veterinary requirements for the race.
The RV Board met this afternoon to consider the situation and has determined the following for the 2021 Melbourne Cup in light of the issue:
- All acceptors yet to undergo a standing CT scan since 16 October 2021, are required to present to U-Vet for comprehensive high-quality X-rays of their distal limbs on Tuesday, 26 October or Wednesday, 27 October;
- The X-ray results from U-Vet will be reviewed by the three international imaging specialists, as have the standing CT scans taken to date;
- Should the X-rays taken at U-Vet identify any area of concern, then the horse may be required to undertake an MRI or standing CT scan (subject to availability) on or before Thursday, 28 October;
- Should the standing CT scanner be operational on Thursday, 28 October then any horse that has not presented for a CT scan (at U-Vet or Randwick Equine Centre) or for X-rays at U-Vet before that date; or been flagged for further examination, will be required to undergo a CT scan on that day;
- Should the standing CT scanner not be operational on Thursday, 28 October, then any horse still to be presented for diagnostic imaging will be required to do so at U-Vet on that day for comprehensive high-quality X-rays of their distal limbs.
In reaching this decision, the RV Board was informed that the process for collection of X-rays at U-Vet would be very similar to that for a standing CT scan, thus having no greater impact on the preparation of a horse who is not required to miss any work.
RV Executive General Manager – Integrity Services, Jamie Stier, said: “Since its installation two years ago, U-Vet advise that the standing CT scanner has examined over 200 horses, and this is the first time it’s had a mechanical issue so the timing is both unfortunate and disappointing.
“We are taking a pragmatic approach to the situation. All Melbourne Cup acceptors will still be subjected to increased and unprecedented veterinary scrutiny using alternative diagnostic imaging at U-Vet before being cleared to start in next Tuesday’s race.
“Whilst our preference remains to use the technology offered by the standing CT scanner, in its temporary absence we know that the X-rays taken at U-Vet will provide us with improved oversight of the remaining horses, particularly in comparison to previous years, and help to identify any areas that require further examination.
“This was deemed the fairest and most appropriate decision in the circumstances so as not to penalise the connections of those horses who had not been submitted for a standing CT scan since 16 October by excluding them from the race.
“It is noted that all horses will still be required to undergo two veterinary examinations by RV prior to the Melbourne Cup, including an additional examination on the Monday prior to the race, and that the four international runners have all undergone advanced diagnostic imaging since their last start.
“Importantly for all connections, all horses will be on a level playing field having all submitted to U-Vet or the Randwick Equine Centre for diagnostic imaging. Equally, those horses submitting for X-rays will not be required to miss any work in the lead-up to the Cup, as those who have been CT scanned have not.”
RV and U-Vet are communicating directly with the connections of the affected horses and will provide an update on the resumption of the standing CT scanner over the coming days.