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Classy stayer Americain, the first French-trained horse to win a Group race in Australia, has been handed a modest 0.5kg penalty for the 2010 Melbourne Cup after its win in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2406m) yesterday.
The six-year-old entire, now trained by the great Alain de Royer Dupre, is in commanding form having won its fourth consecutive race yesterday and is right on track for a big performance in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday November 2 at Flemington.
Americain carried a hefty 58kg to victory in the Geelong Cup beating Moudre with European jockey Gerald Mosse aboard, and Racing Victoria’s Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter has allocated a half kilo penalty for the victory.
“The penalty ensures that Americain will meet the runner-up Moudre and fellow Geelong Cup runner Once Were Wild (16th in the Order of Entry) on the same weight terms in the Melbourne Cup should they take their place in the final field,” Carpenter said.
“At his previous start Americain defeated Manighar in a Group 2 race in France over 3000m. The margin in that race was a neck and with the 0.5kg penalty, Americain will now meet Manighar on 1.5kg worse weight terms from that race in the Melbourne Cup.”
The Gerry Ryan-owned horse is still an excellent lightweight chance to become the Melbourne Cup winner this year, set to carry 54.5kg in the 150th running of the world’s richest handicap.
It is the same Melbourne Cup weight allocated to fellow international raider, Japan’s Tokai Trick, the only other runner with 54.5kg at this stage.
Both Americain and Tokai Trick are yet to win a Group 1 race and British galloper and Goodwood Cup winner Illustrious Blue is the only other Melbourne Cup hopeful that hasn’t won at elite level but is set to carry more weight with 55kg.
The Geelong Cup victory and subsequent penalty has also elevated Americain up the Melbourne Cup ballot from 24th on the elimination order to 14th, making his spot in the 24-horse field a certainty for the $6 million Flemington feature.
Premier online bookmaker Luxbet now have Americain at $13 to win the Melbourne Cup and become the first horse since the Dermot Weld-trained Media Puzzle in 2002 to take out the Geelong Cup – Melbourne Cup double.
Geelong Cup runner-up Moudre put in an eye-catching run yesterday and passed the first ballot clause for the Melbourne Cup, moving up from 58th to 41st in the order of entry.
Trainer Ciaron Maher will likely look to run Moudre in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) on Victoria Derby Day to try and get the five-year-old into the Melbourne Cup field.
Moudre is at $61 to win the Melbourne Cup at Luxbet, with So You Think the current favourite paying $5 and reigning champion Shocking following closely at a quote of $5.50.
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