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David Ellis is hopeful the borders between NZ and Australia can open before spring

Leading New Zealand owner David Ellis is hopeful the borders between New Zealand and Australia can open again to allow for horse movement between the two countries.

The coronavirus pandemic halted horse movement between the countries while the virus caused a shutdown to racing in New Zealand.

While horse movement resumed on April, it was again suspended last month after a horse tested positive to an equine disease.

New Zealand racing is set to resume on July 3 and Ellis, who is Principal of Te Akau Racing, hopes horse travel can resume beforehand allowing Te Akau Racing to ship 12 horses to Melbourne for the spring carnival.

Te Akau Racing already has Melody Belle and Probabeel in work in Sydney while Te Akau Shark is around 10 days away from returning after a break.

The trio campaigned in Sydney during the autumn and did not travel back to New Zealand and will be joined by Avantage and Prise De Fer in being nominated for the Cox Plate.

“We’re just waiting to see when we can transport horses because we intend to take a dozen to Melbourne for the spring,” Ellis told RSN.

“We’re hopeful that New Zealand and Australia can become a bubble and we can travel.

“It looks like the virus is completely under control in New Zealand. I would say next week we would be back to level one and be back to normal very shortly.

“We’re hopeful in the month of June that we can start travelling to Australia.

“That hasn’t been confirmed but for the sake of racing we need it to happen and we’re optimistic that it will.”

Ellis, who was recently awarded the Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours, has backed the move of the 2020 Caulfield Cup from its mid-October date this year.

“Personally I do hope they change the Caulfield Cup for the reasons of the football,” he said.

“It’s only for one year because it’s such a brilliant carnival, but I hope it doesn’t change long term.”

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