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Final countdown as departure day looms


Lydia Symonds | 25.09.2018

Jim Paltridge of International Racehorse Transport (IRT) has revealed the extra steps taken by the horse transport company in the final few days as they prepare to send the likes of Count Octave (Frankel), Red Verdon (Lemon Drop Kid) and Withhold (Champs Elysees) on their way to Australia on Thursday.

“They generally go out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for exercise but won’t on Thursday as they will have left before their exercise slots,” said Paltridge, managing director of IRT in Europe.

“They are only hand-walked on the final day. The trainers decide what exercise they do on Tuesday and Wednesday. Most of their hard work is done. It’s great that we’re able to fulfill the bio-security requirements and still let the trainers get the work they want done. It’s as good we can make it.

“With regards to testing, they’ve had their final flu and nasal swabs today and some of them are doing their final vet check and then we’re all on countdown for Thursday.

“They load up on Thursday afternoon after lunch and head to the airport. We load at the airport at about 5.30pm, and depart at 9.30pm/9.45pm that night.”

Paltridge also reflected on the number of horses making the trip to Victoria this year and believes the increased global interest in Australia’s big races is a positive.

He said: “It’s certainly the most interest we’ve had in Melbourne in my memory, which is great to see. The second flight also looks like being full, so there will be a full house down in Werribee. The Australians will be fearing all their prize-money will be going back to Britain or Ireland!

“It’s great to see so much interest in an international race like the Melbourne Cup. It’s been growing each year and they’ve built us the barn at Werribee to cater for the larger numbers, which might now be full. It’s great for Victoria and it’s great for international racing.”


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