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Alain de Royer Dupre’s exciting French stayer Shahwardi has been awarded a 1.5kg weight penalty for the2012 Melbourne Cup next month after their impressive victory in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield over the weekend.
The Lando seven-year-old resumed after a two month break bringing their consistent form from Europe, including a good third to Joshua Tree in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m), to come from last-to-first and win the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m).
It was an eye-catching effort from the Kerrin McEvoy-ridden gelding in their Australian debut, Shahwardi having handled their trip down under and the drop back from 3000m to 2400m all in their stride.
Displaying a powerful late burst with plenty still left in the tank at the end of the Herbert Power, Shahwardi’s performance earned them a 1.5kg penalty from Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday November 6, 2012, the penalty keeping with similar penalties in recent years.
“Shahwardi was enormously impressive winning the Herbert Power when coming from the rear, circling the field and scoring a decisive victory,” Carpenter said.
“The win was his first since 2009 but the horse has been in good form in Europe this year and was placed behind Tac De Boistron in the Group 2 Maurice de Nieuil in July and third to Joshua Tree andBrigantin in the Group 2 Prix de Kergorlay in August with both races run at level weights.
“The 1.5kg penalty given to Shahwardi is the same penalty given to recent Herbert Power winners Shewan (2011), Alcopop (2009) and Master O’Reilly (2007).”
The penalty has them in the Melbourne Cup 2012 on 53kg and moved Shahwardi from 42nd to 32nd on the order of entry for the ‘race that stops a nation’.
While their Herbert Power Stakes success also earned them a ballot free ride into this Saturday’s $2.65 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), connections won’t back them up instead keeping them fresh for their grand final.
Still not assured of a start in the capacity 24-starter Melbourne Cup field Shahwardi is still at a juicy price of $21 in the latest Melbourne Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au, markets led by Luca Cumani’s European galloper Mount Athos ($8) and recent Turnbull Stakes winner Green Moon ($9).
Shahwardi’s Melbourne Cup winning stablemate Americain (2010) meanwhile is rated a $14 chance in the Melbourne Cup betting markets the Dynaformer stallion likely to kick off their spring campaign in this Saturday’s Caulfield Cup.
If they make it to Melbourne Cup Day Shahwardi will be out to become the eighth horse to take out the Herbert Power – Melbourne Cup double in the same season joining Rogan Jos (1999), Arwon (1978), Van der Hum (1976), Gala Supreme (1973), Sirius (1944), Colonus (1942) and Poseidon who was the first to do so in 1906.
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