The Melbourne Cup has been rocked by more devastating news on the eve of the race after Point Nepean was ruled out on Monday due to an elevated blood result.
The field for Tuesday's race has now been reduced to 23 after the news about Point Nepean came to light on Monday morning.
'VERY NASTY': Horse racing world stunned by jockey's shock act
The development leaves legendary trainer Lloyd Williams with just one horse in the race - Serpentine ($71).
“Robert Hickmott stable has advised RV Stewards that Point Nepean has returned elevated blood results and has been withdrawn from tomorrow’s Lexus Melbourne Cup,” Racing Victoria said in a statement.
Robert Hickmott stable has advised RV Stewards that Point Nepean has returned elevated blood results and has been withdrawn from tomorrow’s Lexus Melbourne Cup
— Racing Victoria (@RacingVictoria) October 30, 2022
An elevated blood result can often indicate a horse in battling the early stages of an illness.
Point Nepean's withdrawal will leave connections to horses who just missed out on making the Cup up in arms.
There are no emergencies for the Melbourne Cup if horses are scratched after the barrier draw is completed.
Point Nepean was a $51 chance in the Melbourne Cup.
Point Nepean out of the Melbourne Cup, so the field down to 23. Won’t affect the market too much! 🏇 https://t.co/dbL2l9vu1Y
— Andrew Hawkins (@AndrewNJHawkins) October 30, 2022
Amateur hour continues
— Charles Frost (@frostycharles) October 30, 2022
Time to break out the old bottle of "Why can't we have emergencies in the Melbourne Cup?" #PointNepean
— Daniel Miles (@danielmiles) October 30, 2022
One day someone might work out how to have emergencies in the race that stops the nation
— Betr (@BetrteB) October 30, 2022
Presume that Irish jockey Wayne Lordan has made his way to Melbourne by now. Surely someone can give him a ride for tomorrow's Melbourne Cup meeting now that he is without one with the scratching of Point Nepean this morning!?
Feel for him if not.
— Cody Lane (@claneracing1) October 30, 2022
Durston and Loft also ruled out of Melbourne Cup
The news about Point Nepean comes after Durston and Loft were also ruled out late last week.
Loft, who had been second-favourite for the Cup, was ruled out after Racing Victoria vets discovered an injured tendon.
It means jockey James McDonald, who won the Melbourne Cup last year aboard Verry Elleegant, is without a ride.
“He’s gutted and disappointed like we all are," Loft’s managing owner Ozzie Kheir told The Age.
"He, too, thought he was a very big chance of going back-to-back. Unfortunately for James, I don’t know if he’ll have a ride in the race. I feel for him.
“We don’t know [when it happened]. It was done anytime between Tuesday and today.
“We lost Le Don De Vie last week, who was already in the Cup, and now Loft three days out, who we were very, very confident would go close to winning, so it’s pretty devastating to lose him this close to the race.”
Durston was also scratched after a mandatory pre-race scan revealed the $13 equal-third favourite had a “grey area” in his left hind leg.
“The specialists cannot determine whether it is old or new, or whether it is even something to be concerned about, but we must respect this,” trainer Chris Waller said.
“It is all about safety, for the horse, and for the rider and the longevity of the horses. It is very disappointing for all connections of the horse, as well as my stable, because so much time and effort goes into these horses. It’s just heartbreaking.
“Durston is sound, he galloped well on Tuesday morning and my vet trotted him up following this however we must respect modern science and learn from this.
"The horse will undergo an MRI scan to investigate further.”
Deauville Legend will head into Tuesday's race as the overwhelming favourite after drawing barrier nine on Saturday.
"I'm pleased. I didn't want a very wide draw and I didn't want a low draw so (gate) nine is absolutely spot on for us," English trainer James Ferguson said.
"With the pace being on the outside they are going to go some clip to get there.
"Ideally we can get into a nice position early doors and we don't have to work too hard to get there either."
Since the withdrawal of German stayer Loft, Deauville Legend has held a tight grip on favouritism and was rated a $3.80 chance after the barriers were decided.
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