Mongolian Khan sits top of the ballot for the ‘race that stops a nation’ on the first Tuesday of November and will rise one kilogram on his Caulfield Cup winning weight having copped a 1kg penalty for the 2015 Melbourne Cup.
Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter gave the Murray Baker-trained New Zealand galloper a 1kg penalty for his victory as the punters’ pick in last Saturday’s $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
The now triple Group 1 winning four-year-old rises to 56kg for his shot at the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) over the two miles at Flemington Racecourse on November 3, a win in which would see him become the first Spring Cups double winners since another Kiwi horse Ethereal back in 2001.
The last Melbourne Cup winner to carry exactly 56kg to victory was 16/1 chance Delta Blues back in 2006 when Japanese-trained horses ran the quinella.
Delta Blues beat home stablemate Pop Rock in that year’s Melbourne Cup on the back of a third in the Caulfield Cup as an $80 outsider in betting and was the last Melbourne Cup champion to have its final lead-up in the Caulfield Cup.
Before him Might And Power carried 56kg to victory back in 1997 as a four-year-old and is one of two four-year-old Caulfield Cup winners Carpenter mentioned along with Gurner’s Lane (1982) who carried that weight to victory in the Melbourne Cup in the same year.
“It is worth noting that Gurner’s Lane won his Caulfield Cup by five lengths, while Might and Power won by seven-and-a-half lengths in track record time,” Carpenter told Racing Victoria.
“The only four-year-old to have won the Melbourne Cup with more than 56kg in the last 50 years was Bart Cummings’ champion Galilee, who carried 56.5kg to victory in 1966.
“Since 1997, other four-year-olds in Sky Heights (1999) and Elvstroem (2004) were both allocated 56.5kg following their Caulfield Cup wins and ran 17th and fourth respectively.”
Over the years Caulfield Cup winners have received a weight penalty for the Flemington follow up of up to 4.5kg, but Carpenter defended his 1kg allocation to Mongolian Khan saying the majority of the Melbourne Cup-bound stayers this spring didn’t run in the once-traditional lead-up.
“This year’s Caulfield Cup was one of the strongest ever run, but the Melbourne Cup always provides a new challenge, run over 3200m and with a new wave of horses coming to the contest,” he explained.
“Of the top 15 in the current Order of Entry for the Melbourne Cup, eight did not run in the Caulfield Cup.”
The only other horse to have received a Melbourne Cup penalty so far this spring is the Nigel Blackiston-trained Let’s Make Adeal who is still only a 50.5kg lightweight after the six-year-old Red Ransom are won in the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2520m) on October 4.
Sixth in last weekend’s Caulfield Cup, Japanese stayer Fame Game (57kg) is the current $4.80 favourite in all-in Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au while Let’s Make Adeal is a $41 roughie.
Mongolian Khan occupies the second line of futures Melbourne Cup betting post the release of his penalty at $7 just ahead of British raider Trip To Paris (55kg) at $7.50 who was a brave second in the Caulfield Cup.
Ed Dunlop prepares the Ascot Gold Cup winner, the Newmarket-based horseman having prepared Red Cadeaux for three Melbourne Cup thirds in recent years.
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