Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Caulfield Cup 2015 lightweight Magnapal has escaped a penalty for next month’s mile and a half classic after winning the Naturalism Stakes over the weekend.
The Terry & Karina O’Sullivan-trained Magnus gelding prepared at Stawell secured his third consecutive victory when backing up from a Heatherlie Handicap success over 1700m to win the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) on Saturday at Caulfield Racecourse.
Ridden by Luke Currie on the 54kg minimum in the race run as the MRC Foundation Cup this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, six-year-old Magnapal had a neck to spare on the line over classy import The United States.
The Naturalism Stakes win secured a ballot exemption for Magnapal into the $3 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) back at the same track on October 17.
Magnapal, who will be just the second Caulfield Cup runner for the O’Sullivans should he make it to race day, is now second on the Caulfield Cup ballot behind Sir Michael Stoute’s European raider Snow Sky who won the Group 2 Hardwick Stakes (2414m) at Ascot back in June.
While Snow Sky is equal 58kg top weight for the classic along with last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist, Magnapal is currently allocated just 50kg.
Two of the past three Caulfield Cup winners have carried 58kg to victory with the Mikel Delzangles-trained French raider Duanden (2012) and Japan’s ill-fated champion stayer Admire Rakti (2014).
The last 50kg lightweight to win meanwhile was star Kiwi mare Ethereal (2001) and since then the lightest weight carried by a Caulfield Cup champ was 50.5kg when the Danny O’Brien-trained favourite Master O’Reilly saluted in 2007.
Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter decided not to penalise Magnapal this season for the Naturalism Stakes success, in turn ending the chance of the horse’s regular rider Currie to ride him in the Caulfield Cup.
“It was a competitive renewal of the Naturalism Stakes again this year but with Magnapal winning on the limit weight it was difficult to get him any higher in the handicap for the Caulfield Cup,” Carpenter said.
“Interestingly, there was just 1.1-lengths between the first four placegetters, all of whom were also on the limit weight.
“Since the Naturalism became an exempt race for the Caulfield Cup four runners have taken their place in the race, the most recent being Mr O’Cierin, who was penalised 0.5kg for his Naturalism win and carried 52.5kg when 11th in the 2013 Caulfield Cup behind Fawkner.”
Unable to make the light weight, Currie will be replaced by another jockey in next month’s lucrative feature missing his maiden Caulfield Cup ride.
Futures Caulfield Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au is firmly led by Fame Game ($9) who is out to go back-to-back for Japan.
Magnapal meanwhile is still only a $51 outsider in the markets that will be updated this afternoon following the Caulfield Cup second acceptances closing today.
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