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Sertorius has been scratched from the MRC Foundation Cup at Caulfield because of an elevated white blood cell count with trainer Jamie Edwards now looking to start him in the Underwood Stakes.

Edwards withdrew Sertorius from Saturday’s Group Three MRC Foundation Cup (2000m) on Friday after getting the eight-year-old’s latest blood test results.

“His white cell count had come down a little bit but not enough to warrant running him,” Edwards said.

“The horse himself seems bright and well but his blood count is off. You’re only a mug to run them when they’ve got that. They tend to run OK but tend to be flat afterwards.

“He’s going to a Melbourne Cup, so the last thing I want to do is flatten him second-up.”

Edwards expects the multiple stakes winner’s blood picture to be normal again by Monday or Tuesday. The Group One Underwood (1800m) is on Saturday week.

The MRC Foundation Cup carries a ballot exemption for the Caulfield Cup for the winner and Edwards said it was disappointing to miss that chance to secure a Caulfield Cup berth on Saturday.

“At the end of the day his main target is the Melbourne Cup. That’s what we want to get him to and the Caulfield Cup was a path to that,” he said.

“If he doesn’t go to the Caulfield Cup, it’s neither here nor there really.

“It really all depends on how he goes in the Underwood as to where we go to but this time of year there’s a million options you can take with these horses.”

Sertorius was equal 36th in the latest Caulfield Cup ballot order released earlier this week.

With Sertorius scratched from Saturday’s race, second emergency Ethiopia gains a start.

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