If I was the Chairman of the VRC, this is what I would do on Sunday.
I’d commission an independent inquiry into the recent deaths during the running of the Melbourne Cup.
I would state categorically it is absolutely a concern that four horses have died in the past six years while competing.
Nothing can harm the place of the race in the national affection more than having fatalities in an event conceived as a national celebration.
Nothing matters more than having the horses that go out to compete, return safely after the race is run and won.
The Committee of the VRC seeks to fully understand why there has been a spike in fatalities in these half dozen years.
It is to cast no dispersions over the standards and practices operating in racing in the Victorian racing industry.
But it is a moment to pause to ensure all that can be done to ensure a safe running of the Cup is being done.
Not only is there no harm in asking the questions, there is now an obligation to do so to keep faith with community standards and to minimise the inherent risks.
Terms of reference will be prepared for an eminent person to re-investigate the four recent deaths – to seek information from all relevant people, anonymously where best suited, and to call for submissions from interested parties including local and international authorities and veterinary experts.
Further the inquiry will be extended to those horses entered for recent Melbourne Cups who died or suffered serious injury specifically preparing for the race.
Instruct this person to ask the uncomfortable questions in the strictest confidence to get the best understanding of what has taken place.
Were the injuries suffered in the race forseeable in any way?
Was every precaution taken?
Did horses race when they shouldn’t have?
Are the discrepancies between the local and international training facilities or methods that increase the risk of catastrophic injury.
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Commit to publicly release the findings as a covenant of accountability with the Australian public.
As custodians of a race passed from generation to generation for 158 years it is our duty to learn all that is knowable and take whatever steps necessary to lessen the risk of death in any future Melbourne Cup.
There is no harm in asking these questions with an open mind.
In fact to do any less is to risk real harm.