Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Defending Melbourne Cup winner Americain will be handed the heaviest allocation when 2011 Caulfield Cup weights are released on Tuesday, August 30, according to Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter.
For the first time in Australian racing history weights for the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), to run on October 22, will be released prior to those for the iconic Melbourne Cup 2011.
Nominations for the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) will close this Thursday, September 1, the famous Flemington feature expected to attract a record number of entries for the 151st running of the two-mile showdown.
Winner of last year’s Melbourne Cup, Americain, is again set to travel down under but this year is will target dual Cups success having also been entered for the Caulfield Cup.
The Alain De Royer Dupre-trained six-year-old drifted out in the Cups betting markets at Luxbet this week after they failed to come within six lengths when 10th in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3016m) in France on Sunday.
Caulfield Cup betting is lead by Peter Moody’s promising mare Lights Of Heaven ($7) while Americain is rated a $35 outsider.
In the Luxbet Melbourne Cup odds, favouritism belongs again to Lights Of Heaven who sits at $10 along with Shamrocker while Americain is paying a generous $21 to win back-to-back editions of the ‘race that stops a nation.’
For their Melbourne Cup success last spring, Americain carried 54.5kg to victory when ridden by Gerald Mosse.
Since then they have contested five races ranging in distance from 2400 metres to 3016 metres, carrying no less than 57kg each time.
Americain has had as much at 61kg on their back, but the most weight they have carried to victory was 59.5kg in the Listed Prix De Reux (2514m) at Deauville earlier this month.
In Australia the Australian-bred stayer carted 58kg to victory in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2406m) leading up to their Melbourne Cup upset, which is around the weight they are expected to be given for the Caulfield Cup.
While every indication would be for Americain to be all but weighted out of Caulfield Cup contention, Carpenter has assured that they would be given less than 60kg.
The last horse to be allocated over 60 kilos in a Caulfield Cup field was Fantastic Light in 2000.
With Racing Victoria spending precious time and dollars attracting international stayers to the annual Melbourne Spring Carnival, Carpenter said he would not slap a horse with 60-plus kilos and thus deter future raiders from making an appearance in Victoria’s spring features.
“The nature of the race has changed and how I handicap them has changed,” Carpenter explained.
“These races are Group 1 handicap races and we want the best stayers in the world to compete in them.
“Our very best horses and those from overseas, like Yeats, Septimus and Vinnie Roe, are encouraged to run and they have to give weight to lesser-performed horses.”
Putting things into perspective, Carpenter pointed out that the only horse in recent history to carry over 57 kilos to a Caulfield Cup victory was the mighty Northerly (58kg) in 2002.
“In the last 30 – 40 years only two horses have been able to carry more than 57kg and win the Melbourne Cup and only Northerly carried 58kg to win the Caulfield Cup,” he said.
“No matter how good a horse is, to carry big weights against quality opposition with less weight, it does take an exceptional performance to still win the race.”
There are currently 238 horses nominated for the 2011 Caulfield Cup.
Following tomorrow’s weights, the Caulfield Cup first declarations will be taken next Tuesday September 6 narrowing down the list of hopefuls.
As the number of gallopers heading towards a start in the capacity 18-starter, four emergency Caulfield Cup final field is cut, so too will be the available odds on the hopefuls.
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