Melbourne Cup favourite Yucatan and German import Sound Check will race under their original European names in Australia’s great race after an abrupt U-turn from authorities over a controversial naming policy.
Yucatan had its name changed to Yucatan Ire just last week to avoid confusion with a South Australian based maiden horse which has had only one start, but will instead bear its first moniker when it heads to the gates in the $7.3 million race.
Sound Check was to be rebranded Sound and the situation was only muddied by the fact both horses carried their old names in their first Australian runs before being forced to change them for the Melbourne Cup.
A review of Racing Australia’s existing policy to naming international horses will be held in December.
"As both horses have already competed in Australia this season under their original names, and recognising the Melbourne Cup is broadcast globally, the standard naming practices will not be applied in this instance," Racing Australia said in a statement.
Earlier on Tuesday, the trainer of the Australian-based Yucatan, Matt Seyers, had offered connections of the Lloyd Williams-owned Herbert Power Stakes winner his blessing to change the horse's name to his original European guise.
Nick Williams, the son of leviathan owner Lloyd Williams, who owns the Irish-based Aidan O'Brien-trained Yucatan, joined calls for Racing Australia to step in and sort the naming fiasco before the Melbourne Cup.
Racing Australia chief executive Barry O'Farrell told Fairfax Media on Monday the potential of two horses having different names in the country's great race to what they did in an Australian lead-up run was "unacceptable".
Seyers' horse has won just $600 in prize money from finishing seventh in a Morphettville maiden back in June and said his galloper won't be nominated into the Racing Australia system again until December.
"I'm quite happy for the horse to go around as Yucatan in the Cup," Seyers said. "Our bloke is not going to be nominated until December at the earliest and I'd be happy for the [Lloyd Williams horse] to go around as Yucatan. If it goes back to Europe [after the Melbourne Cup] it does and if it stays something can be done about it then.
"There was quite a bit of thought that went into the naming of our horse."
Yucatan worked strongly at Werribee on Tuesday morning in one of his final serious pieces of work before the Melbourne Cup.
He's currently a $4.50 favourite with BetEasy and could start as the shortest priced Melbourne Cup favourite since So You Think finished third behind Americain as a $3 chance in 2010.
Williams will also boast unlucky Caulfield Cup placegetter The Cliffsofmoher, another horse which has had his name changed from his original European moniker, Cliffs of Moher.
"The horses are in good order," Nick Williams said. "How they will run, God only knows. You have just got to hope if TJ Comerford and his team can get them there in good order they should be able to run well."