Honor In War scratched from the Cox Plate

The owners and trainer Danny O'Brien have elected to withdraw American galloper Honor in War from the Cox Plate and contest the Group One Emirates Mile.

Since the decision to send Honor in War to Australia was made in early September, the stallion has been tested regularly throughout quarantine in both the United States and by Racing Victoria to monitor the dissipation from his system various medications that are allowed in America. The most recent urine test conducted earlier this week showed that trace amounts of a hormone that slightly exceeded the acceptable levels in Australia which are substantially lower that the American standard.

Another test was conducted on Friday which indicated that even though the level was much lower, there was a question as to whether the stallion would exceed the Australian threshold on raceday. Another sample was taken on Friday afternoon however but because the unavailability of a laboratory, the decision to bypass the Cox Plate was made to eliminate any uncertainties.

"The decision took a bit of soul searching as the levels involved are trace amounts but the owners felt it was best to err on the side of caution." said O'Brien who continued, "The Emirates Stakes has always been the Spring target so we will now prepare him at Flemington for a run on Stakes Day."

Managing owner David Bernsen commented, "In the end, we decided that while he likely would have not exceeded the acceptable Australian levels on the day of the race, without being able to get results from the last test on Friday to remove all doubt, we just felt scratching him and focusing on the Emirates Stakes was the only decision we could make. Honor in War's Australian campaign is not about one race. The Cox Plate was only the first in a series of races designed to introduce the future Grade 1 winning stallion to the Australian market."