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Americain battles to beat the bulge

It is well known that 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain enjoys his visits to Australia, but travelling partner Stephanie Nigge is concerned the entire is enjoying his latest trip to Melbourne a little too much. Onlookers have noticed that Americain is packing a little more weight than he was when last in Melbourne, and Nigge confirmed yesterday that the eight-year-old is battling the bulge and taking longer to shed some excess weight. ''He is 10 kilograms heavier here. I don't know if the scales here are very different to the scales at home, but he does look bigger. Maybe he is a bit too big at the moment,'' she said. ''He will go to Caulfield on Saturday to show him the track and have a gallop. We need to do a bit more work with him.''

Winning touch

Leading Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman has been called upon to help reignite the spring campaign for Lloyd Williams's import Midas Touch. Bowman, who partnered stablemate Mourayan to a win in last Saturday's Craven Plate at Randwick, will ride the out-of-form Midas Touch in Saturday's Caulfield Stakes. Third declarations will also be taken for the Cox Plate today.

Testing times

Thoroughbred racing has long boasted that it is a drug-free sport, and while that hasn't really changed, there has been some tinkering to the rules to allow screening limits for therapeutic substances. As of October 1, the Australian Racing Board has allowed a list of non-performance enhancing drugs to have a screening limit due to improved technology that has dramatically increased the sensitivity of drug tests. Also, the ARB have allowed authorities discretion when ruling on elevated testosterone levels in geldings following tests done on numerous horses. As the tests found that horses that travelled long distances often had higher testosterone levels, stewards are not forced to charge a trainer with a drug offence if they are satisfied the elevated presence of testosterone is not a result of an unlawful administration.

Change of luck

The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winner Moment Of Change will not be able to chase a further group 1 this spring after he was sent to the paddock following an ankle injury. Moment Of Change was to take on super mare More Joyous in the Toorak Handicap on Saturday but his trainer Peter Moody confirmed that Moment Of Change had injured his ankle at trackwork last Saturday. He added the ailment was not career-threatening.