Sydney racing's showpiece The Championships could be left without any international representation with Japanese visitor Tosen Stardom's fate to be decided on Thursday after a suspected bleeding attack at Canterbury.
Barely a week since the returning five-year-old arrived in Sydney as the autumn carnival's lone overseas contender, Tosen Stardom's Australian campaign could be over after Racing NSW stewards opened an inquiry into an incident on Tuesday morning.
Transcripts have been sent to trainer Yasutoshi Ikee and Tosen Stardom's owners with bookmakers advised to suspend betting on the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday week, intended to be the entire's sole Australian start.
A final decision will be made by noon on Thursday.
"We're taking it one step at a time and these people must be given every opportunity of due process and natural justice and we must consider their submissions," Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys said. "But never at any stage are we going to compromise on integrity or safety.
"It doesn't matter if they're locals, interstate or international ... they're all treated exactly the same. It's just one of those tales of racing."
Any horse that bleeds from both nostrils automatically incurs a three-month ban from racing, while those who suffer a second attack are prohibited from racing in Australia again.
Chief steward Ray Murrihy said Tosen Stardom, which ran second in the Ranvet Stakes last year and fifth in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, had no history of bleeding in Japan.
"He trotted and cantered this morning and quickened up in the straight," Murrihy said before the horse appeared to have blood on both nostrils. "The transcripts [of the inquiry] have already gone and [the connections] will get a chance to have a look at them."
Evidence was taken from Dr Tomonori Tosusa, a consultant vet to the owners of Tosen Stardom, Dr Tania Selig and Dr Ramon Perez. Canterbury's quarantine supervisor Maurice Logue also made submissions.
The possibility of Tosen Stardom being withdrawn from the Queen Elizabeth Stakes caps a disastrous month for The Championships officials in regards to international competition.
There will also be question marks over whether connections will have their air travel fully subsidised after embarking on the expensive trip to Australia.
Tosen Stardom's compatriots Isla Bonita, Logotype and Tosen Reve all withdrew from planned trips to Sydney after unflattering lead-up runs in their homeland.
Canterbury will not to host a Sydney midweek meeting for more than two months to cater for the quarantine requirements of the internationals, which meant Tosen Stardom had been granted exclusive access to arguably Sydney's premier racing surface.
The Japanese have been no strangers to stewards controversy in their last two visits to Sydney after Nick Hall was sensationally axed from the ride on To The World in last year's Queen Elizabeth Stakes, NSW's richest race.
Hall argued he had a confirmed booking on the horse, but Ikee cited a "lack of trust and understanding" from previous race rides and a bungled trackwork gallop for triggering the change.
Stewards agreed the Caulfield Cup-winning rider was entitled to full compensation and stood to win $118,000 if To The World was successful in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, a race he didn't ride in. To The World eventually failed to beat a runner home under Zac Purton.
This article was written by Adam Pengilly from Sydney Morning Herald and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.