Red Verdon has been sensationally withdrawn from the Melbourne Cup just hours after passing a veterinary exam that seemingly confirmed his place in the field for the $7.3 million race.
Ed Dunlop's stable advised Racing Victoria officials on Saturday afternoon they were pulling the horse from Tuesday's race.
His carers had been battling a bruised heel after Red Verdon shifted a plate on Thursday but insisted he would be fit to run in the Melbourne Cup.
But after trotting up clear in front of vets at Werribee on Saturday morning, he was later found to be slightly lame, which prompted a further vet exam. It didn't get that far when Dunlop opted to take his horse out of the race shortly before final acceptances were due to be taken.
Red Verdon was raced by the same interests as three-time Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux, which was put down after being injured during the race in 2015.
Prince Of Arran forced his way into the field when he won the Lexus Stakes at Flemington on Saturday, the Melbourne Cup's last chance saloon.