While one dream has died for now for Albion chairman Tony Bloom, another is still very much alive.

Bloom's hopes of winning the Melbourne Cup, run in the early hours this morning, were dashed when his horse Withold bled from both nostrils in his prep race and was ruled out for three months.

Bloom's travel itinerary has eased considerably as a consequence. He planned to fly to Australia and be back in time to watch the two football clubs he owns.

His first love, of course, always has and always will be Albion.

Bloom (below) will be in Wales on Saturday for the Seagulls' early kick-off against Cardiff (12.30) after watching his other team in Belgium the night before.

The Argus: On Friday, Royal Union Saint Gilloise visit Mechelen for a top-of-the table clash in the second division which brings to an end the first half of the season.

Under the Belgian system, the first half winners are automatically promoted if they also win the second half.

If there are two different winners, they play each other home and away at the end of the season to decide who goes up.

RUSG's hopes of overhauling Mechelen were virtually dashed when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Lommel United at the weekend, in spite of a late equaliser stretching their unbeaten run to ten matches.

They are three points adrift of their opponents with a nine worse goal difference but there is a twist.

Mechelin are embroiled in a major fraud and match-fixing scandal, which has rocked Belgian football and dates back to their vain attempt to avoid relegation last season.

Last month, hundreds of police carried out 44 house searches across Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia.

Searches were also carried out at the headquarters of nine clubs, including Mechelen, Anderlecht, Club Brugge, Genk and Standard Liege, and around 30 arrests were made.

Mechelen financial director, Thierry Steemans, has been detained and charged in the match-fixing case.

Dejan Veljkovic, an agent, is alleged to have engineered a match-fixing scheme with a Belgian referee in a failed effort to save Mechelen from the drop.

The implications for Mechelen are unknown but, irrespective of any punishment, Bloom's goal to take RUSG back into the top flight of Belgian football could be achieved as soon as next season.

Bloom's purchase of the Brussels-based club, completed in May, followed an extensive search across Europe for a suitable project.

RUSG, founded in 1897, won the Belgian championship 11 times between 1904 and 1935. They also played in Europe, reaching the semi-finals of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, before falling on hard times.

Since Bloom took charge the team under 36-year-old Slovenian Luka Elsner has been rapidly on the rise again.

Hermes Van Damme, a journalist for Walfoot.be covering RUSG, told The Argus: "It's a completely new team, only four or five players who were there last year.

"At the beginning it was not so good but we could see in the way of playing there was something, a philosophy. After three or four games they began to win regularly."

Elsner's squad includes players from Norway, Spain, Argentina, Cameroon and Albion's South African international summer signing Percy Tau, loaned out for the season to help overcome work permit complications.

Tau has contributed four goals and five assists in all competitions. Van Damme said: "I saw him in the last few weeks and he is really good. He has a really good technique and now he is scoring. He is really making a difference, more and more important."

Bloom's takeover was greeted initially with scepticism but he is gradually winning supporters over.

The Argus: The success of the team has increased attendances at the 99-year-old Stade Joseph Marien (above) from an average of just over 1,500 last season to just under 2,500 this season.

Van Damme said: "It is becoming more and more famous again. It was famous years ago. A lot of old people watch games and now there are a lot of young people supporting.

"I think at the beginning the feeling was not so good, because Union is a traditional club and they wanted to keep it Belgian.

"But, after the good results, it's becoming better. To have the objective to go to the First Division again, it is changing minds of supporters."