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Quarantine issues involving an Irish racehorse have forced officials to shift a Victorian race meeting at late notice.

The Werribee meeting on Thursday has been switched to nearby Geelong after Victorian staff from the Department of Agriculture were overruled by Canberra.

Irish galloper Gordon Lord Byron, in Australia to race during the Sydney autumn carnival, has caused the transfer.

Gordon Lord Byron started a mandatory two weeks of quarantine at the International Horse Centre at Werribee racetrack after arriving in Australia at the weekend.

Racing Victoria’s Greg Carpenter said the ruling body had been given the green light for racing at Werribee despite Gordon Lord Byron being stabled on course.

But department heads from Canberra on Tuesday stepped in and ordered Racing Victoria to move the meeting.

“Despite satisfying the requirements set out by the Victorian-based officials for the meeting to proceed, in the last 24 hours we have been advised by head office in Canberra that the meeting cannot proceed at Werribee,” Carpenter said.

The Werribee quarantine centre recently housed Japanese mare Hana’s Gold for two weeks before she moved to Sydney to continue her autumn carnival build-up while Gordon Lord Byron arrived in Melbourne on Saturday.

Carpenter said a race meeting at Werribee was held in early 2012 as New Zealand star Jimmy Choux completed his time in quarantine after returning from Hong Kong.

 
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