Melbourne Cup: Racing Victoria vows to ‘leave no stone unturned’ as it investigates Anthony Van Dyck’s death

Racing Victoria has vowed to investigate why there has been a series of fatalities on Melbourne Cup day after Anthony Van Dyck was euthanased on Tuesday.

The English Derby winner went in to the Melbourne Cup as one of the favourites, but broke down at the top of the finishing straight at Flemington and was pulled up at the 350m mark.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained horse was put in veterinarians’ care but was euthanased a short time after the race.

Racing Victoria’s integrity chief Jamie Stier said on Wednesday that the organisation would conduct a post-mortem and also check the horse’s veterinary history.

Mr Stier said each of the fatalities at the Melbourne Cup in recent years had been investigated.

The Cliffsofmoher’s death led to changes to pre-travel vetting for international horses.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

“In recent times since The Cliffsofmoher incident [in 2018], we have the horses prior to their arrival in Australia having X-rays done of all four legs, a video of the horse trotting up for the veterinary examination and a pre-travel examination done by their own stable vet in their own country.

“Additionally we have an independent regulatory vet examine the horse as well.

“This year there was one horse that did not travel as a result of these procedures.”

The five-year-old stallion is the seventh Melbourne Cup day death in as many years, prompting calls for an investigation from the RSPCA.

“There were some changes made following a fatality in 2018 to track and to compliance and check-in with regard to international horses coming in. It doesn’t look like that’s worked. There’s more to be done.”

Anthony Van Dyck, who placed second in the Caulfield Cup a fortnight ago, was carrying 58.5 kilograms.

Admire Rakti crosses the line at the 2014 Melbourne Cup
Admire Rakti trailed across the line before collapsing in its stall.(AAP: Tracey Nearmy)

A number of horses that have died in the Melbourne Cup have been close to the top of the weights — including topweight Admire Rakti, who died after the 2014 race when he collapsed in his stall.

Asked whether weight was a key factor, Mr Stier replied: “It’s a very different conversation on whether a horse can win carrying a certain weight as opposed to any potential impact on its welfare.”

“But it’s something that we’re conscious of and we’re not going to leave any stone unturned – we’re going to look at all the factors.”

Pressed on the number of recent deaths in the Cup, Mr Stier said: “We take a very considered approach … we’re not stepping away from the fact it concerns us, and we’re very open and mindful of our horses and their wellbeing.”

“We won’t be jumping to conclusions and we will be making evidence-based decisions.”

Animal rights groups call for end to racing

Animal rights group PETA called for an “immediate investigation” into the death and an end to the racing industry.

“How many more deaths will it take before we call time on this disgraceful demonstration of national senselessness?” it asked.

Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick said the Melbourne Cup was “beginning to feel like Groundhog Day”.

“Almost every year, a horse breaks down and is killed,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

“While the scenes today were confronting, nobody should be surprised.

“A racehorse dies every three days on Australian racetracks. The only difference is on Melbourne Cup day, the whole country is watching.”

Later on Tuesday, jockey Kerrin McEvoy was fined a record $50,000 and handed a 13-meeting suspension for excessive whip use in the closing stages of the race.

Race stewards found him to have whipped Tiger Moth 21 times, including 13 times before reaching the 100m mark of the race, before finishing behind winner Twilight Payment.

Jockeys are only allowed to use the whip five times before the 100m mark.

“Whips definitely have to go as a performance-enhancing device,” Ms Walker said.

She said a vote to phase them out will be before Racing Australia on November 11.

Mr Stier said Racing Victoria’s position was to “support transitioning away from use of the whip for encouragement”.

However he said the organisation had not put a timeline on when this should end.


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Bachelorette Australia: Bachie Adam Todd leaves no stone unturned in date with Elly Miles

He may be a self-confessed nerd who studies rocks for a living but The Bachelorette’s Adam Todd thinks that will set him apart from the sea of hipsters in the mansion.

“I’m a bit of an oddball, I do things a bit differently,” he told AAA.

His alternative charm has hit where it matters most and Todd, 24, who grew up in Victoria before moving to Perth scored that all important one on one time with Elly Miles.

“I’m a bit of a shy guy and to get away from the big personalities in the house, that’s my chance to get that quality time with her,” Todd said.

Shy or otherwise, in true Bachie form, it wasn’t long before he showed he takes a holistic approach to geology in the form of his rock-hard abs.

“This is a massive opportunity that I’ve been given so I’m going to use that time to show her who I am and ask her those big relationship questions,” he said.

He admits, after their hot date at the zoo, he’s falling for Miles.

“There’s definitely something building with Elly and I want to keep working on that connection,” he said.

“I came into this … to find love … I really want to give it a fair crack.”

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Dave Rennie will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of scrum guru

Rennie coached and worked with du Plessis at Glasgow Warriors and has immense respect for what he can bring to the technical side of the game. But with financial pressure weighing heavily on Rugby Australia, Rennie knows he will have to be extra persuasive to get his man.

“I’ve worked with Petrus, he’s of South African extract, played a lot of rugby for Saracens, a little bit with London Irish, did a bit of coaching there and, for the last couple of years, has coached up at Glasgow for a couple of years,” Rennie said.

He’d be a great get if we could get it over the line.

Dave Rennie on Petrus du Plessis

“He’s excellent, outstanding. He’s a qualified physio, he’s really innovative and he’s such a good man, just really passionate about scrums. So often he’d be training with us and rattle off to do a coaching thing in Aberdeen a couple of hours away driving in the snow.

“His role, if we could get it across the line, is more than just the Wallabies. It’s getting around the country and working with all the sides. He’d be a great get if we could get it over the line.

“We’ve been fighting for a long time. It’s a difficult time, but hopefully we can get that over the line soon. I can’t say much more than that.”


Rennie spoke with more than a hint of optimism, suggesting du Plessis could be on board sooner rather than later. He had a similar tone when asked for an update on McKellar, who would likely retain his Brumbies role until his contract expired at the end of the 2021 Super Rugby season.

“It’s a bit like Petrus’s story really,” Rennie said. “We’re working through that process but I think everyone’s aware of my feelings around Dan; an excellent coach, top man, would be a great addition to our group.

“You look how dominant they’ve [Brumbies] been in their lineout drive and it’s been over the last few years. Ruaidhri [Murphy] probably takes responsibility for that now but Dan’s had a big part in it so he’d be a great addition to our group.”

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