Robert Hickmott’s flying import The United States has copped a big 2.5kg 2015 Melbourne Cup penalty for his win in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) on Cox Plate Day over the weekend.
Hickmott won the ‘race that stops a nation’ three years ago with Green Moon (2012), head trainer for the prominent Team Williams now in the 2015 $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington Racecourse on November 3 with another livewire six-year-old stallion.
A son of Galileo, The United States improved on a sixth in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at the start of the month, relishing a step up in distance to beat home last year’s winner Prince Of Penzance with a gun finish in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup.
The win attracted a 2.5kg penalty from Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter, a half-kilo more than he penalised the Darren Weir-trained Prince Of Penzance 12 months ago who went on to run second next start to Le Roi in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) on Emirates Stakes Day.
His penalty took him up to 52.5kg for the world’s richest handicap, an exact weight last carried to victory by a Melbourne Cup winner with the Lloyd Williams-owned What A Nuisance (1985) 30 years ago.
He is now sitting 26th on the Melbourne Cup order of entry, the classic having a capacity field limit of 24 starters.
Also on the border of a start are the likes of the Chris Waller-trained Beaten Up (24th), Sertorious (25th) for Jamie Edwards and the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained British raider Secret Number (27th).
2015 Melbourne Cup second acceptances closed at 10am (AEST) on Monday morning, Racing Victoria receiving 42 payments.
A number of notable non-acceptors withdrawn from the mix paves the way for Prince Of Penzance to make the Melbourne Cup field for the first time sitting 23rd on the ballot.
The United States’s owner Williams meanwhile could have as many as four in the field this season with his other second acceptors being the Adian O’Brien-trained Irish duo of Bondi Beach (5th) and Kingfisher (21st) as well as Herbert Power Stakes winner Amralah (20th).
Final 2015 Melbourne Cup acceptances close at 4:30pm (AEST) this Saturday, October 31, with the field announced after the racing action of Victoria Derby Day live from Flemington.
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