Americain topweight in BMW Caulfield Cup with 58kg

Reigning Emirates Melbourne Cup champion Americain has been allocated topweight of 58kg in the 2011 $2.5 million BMW Caulfield Cup by Racing Victoria’s Chief Handicapper, Greg Carpenter.

Carpenter, who released the weights today for the world’s richest 2400m turf handicap to be run at Caulfield on 15 October, said the French star had been penalised 3.5kg for his Melbourne Cup win.

“Americain won the Melbourne Cup with 54.5kg and rises to topweight of 58kg in the Caulfield Cup in recognition of being the second highest rated stayer in the world in 2011,” Carpenter explained.

“Viewed was the most recent Melbourne Cup winner to return the following year and win the Caulfield Cup. He did so in 2009 with 57kg having been penalised 4kg for his Melbourne Cup victory.”

Americain, who arrives in Australia on 24 September, will need to emulate Western Australian star Northerly who was the last horse to carry 58kg to victory in the Caulfield Cup in 2002.

Defending Caulfield Cup champion Descarado, one of 12 Gai Waterhouse-trained entries in this year’s race, has been allocated 56kg having carried 52.5kg to victory 12 months ago.

“I have effectively penalised Descarado 2kg for his victory in last year’s race. The other 1.5kg increase is for his progression on the weight-for-age scale from a four to five-year-old,” Carpenter explained.

History, as well as an increased weight, will test Descarado if he pursues a title defence, with Rising Fast (1954-55) and Posiedon (1906-07) the only horses to claim successive Caulfield Cups.

Completing the top five weighted horses are the UK-trained USA Breeders Cup winner Dangerous Midge (57.5kg), 2007 Melbourne Cup winner Efficient (57kg) and Japanese stayer Meiner Kitz (56kg) who is unlikely to make the trip. Following is a summary of the weights allotted other notable entries;

· Alandi (55.5kg) – Lloyd Williams’ imported 2009 Irish St Leger winner drops from 58kg last year after failing in four Australian starts over shorter distances. Stablemate Midas Touch, runner-up in last year’s English St Leger and Irish Derby, has 0.5kg less with 55kg.

· My Kingdom Of Fife (55kg) – The Chris Waller-trained Group 1-winning import has 1kg more than Glass Harmonium (54kg) with whom he battled during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.

· Harris Tweed (54.5kg) – The Murray Baker-trained NZ entrant rises 0.5kg on his second placing behind Descarado in 2010 and carries the same weight as the UK entrant of the identical name.

· Mighty High (54.5kg) – Winner of the Group 1 Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) in Hong Kong. Mr Medici won that race last year before finishing sixth in the Caulfield Cup with 55kg.

· Maluckyday (54kg) – The 2010 Melbourne Cup runner-up who is owned in the same interests as runaway 1997 Caulfield Cup winner Might And Power.

· Manighar (54kg) – The Luca Cumani-trained UK stayer carried the same weight to fifth in last year’s Caulfield Cup. Stablemate Drunken Sailor has also been weighted on 54kg.

· Dunaden (54kg) – French stayer prepared by Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Alain de Royer Dupre’s former pupil, Mikel Delzangles. Stablemate Zack Hall has 1kg less on 53kg.

· Lion Tamer (54kg) – VRC Derby winner has the same weight as 2004 Cup winner Elvstroem was given after winning the Derby the year prior. He is the highest weighted four-year-old.

· Lucas Cranach (53.5kg) – German horse who has been well supported in pre-post betting for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. Will be trained by Anthony Freedman.

· Tactician (53kg) – Owned by The Queen and trained in the UK by Michael Bell. Receives the same weight as another Ebor Handicap runner-up, Carte Diamond, did in 2005.

· Anacheeva (53kg) – The Age Caulfield Guineas winner is the second highest weighted four-year-old marginally ahead of Playing God, Shootoff and Sincero who have all been allocated 52.5kg.

· Shamrocker (52kg) – Will have to equal the weight carrying record by a four-year-old mare held by Leilani (1974) and How Now (1976). Research was the last filly to win the AJC Derby in 1989 and she was allocated 52.5kg in the Caulfield Cup.

· Lights Of Heaven (51.5kg) – The Caulfield Cup favourite has the same weight as stablemate and Memsie Stakes winner King’s Rose, as well as Oaks winners Absolutely and Brazilian Pulse.

· Scarlett Lady (51kg) – High class New Zealand mare who won the Queensland Oaks. Shares the same weight as WA Derby-Oaks winner Dreamaway who debuts in Victoria on Saturday.

· Black And Bent (50.5kg) – Australia’s champion jumper has raced six times on the flat at 2400m or beyond for five wins and one second, all at metropolitan level.

· December Draw (50kg) – Highly fancied Mark Kavanagh-trained import that will need to win either the D’Urban Naturalism Handicap (2000m) on 17 September or the Sportingbet Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) on 8 October, both at Caulfield, to secure a start.

First acceptances for the Caulfield Cup will be taken at 12 noon (AET) on Tuesday, 6 September 2011.

Melbourne Cup now in the sights of jumper Black And Bent

Champion hurdler Black And Bent made his last appearance of the 2011 jumping season a winning one and will now embark on an ambitious campaign to contest this year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup.

The Robert Smerdon-trained six-year-old tightened his grip on favouritism for the Australian Jumper of the Year title when he won his fourth consecutive jumping race in the $100,000 JJ Houlahan Hurdle (3400m) at Betfair Park (Sandown) on Sunday.

The victory, his 10th in 16 jumping appearances, took his earnings over the obstacles past $500,000 and set up his assault on the race that stops the nation at Flemington on 1 November.

The Grand National Hurdle winner is yet to pass the first ballot clause for the $6m Melbourne Cup (3200m), but will be given his chance to do so in one of three races in a month’s time.

Victory in either the Listed $100,000 Ansett Classic (2400m) at Mornington on 1 October or the Listed $200,000 The Bart Cummings (2500m) the following day at Flemington will see him pass the ballot and further his claims for a Cup start.

The Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) in Sydney on the same day as the Ansett Classic is also earmarked as an option with a top five placing enough to see him pass the first ballot.

“We’ll just take the weakest option,” managing part-owner Mike Symons, who celebrated his 42nd birthday on Sunday, explained post-race.

“We’ll have him really cranked up for whatever race we select,” he added.

Beyond the Melbourne Cup, Symons said Australia’s pin-up horse is likely to be given his chance against the world’s best jumpers in the next year or two.

“We would love to run in the Champions Hurdle at Cheltenham (UK) or the Grand Jump at Nakayama (Japan),” Symons said.

“I’ve seen horses like St Stevens and Karasi go there and perform very well. You would like to think he’s on a par with those horses.”

Ridden patiently by Steve Pateman, Black And Bent sat a distant third off Phaze Action ($17) who set a frantic pace before making his move ahead of the second last jump.

After claiming the tiring leader, Black And Bent ($1.16) and Our Chateau ($26) headed to the final jump together before Pateman said ‘go’ and the champion raced away to an eight length victory, with Half Moon Rising ($18) a further seven lengths back in third.

Pateman said he never had a moment’s concern.

“He’s just a real professional,” he said. “It’s been a great preparation and I’m just go privileged to be a part of it.”

Retired jockey Brett Scott had special reason to celebrate Black And Bent’s victory with connections donating $5000 of their winnings to help in his recovery from recent back surgery.

The third hurdle racing fatality of the season was recorded in the race when Fergus McIver fell at the final jump. The incident has been referred to the Jumps Review Panel with the horse sent for an autopsy.

Rose proves Moody is King with Memsie Stakes win

Peter Moody added yet another string to his outstanding Spring Carnival arsenal when Group 1 winner King’s Rose won Saturday’s $200,000 Group 2 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

The well-performed former Kiwi mare emerged as a major spring player with a fighting win over consistent weight-for-age performer Heart Of Dreams at her first Australian start.

Moody was thrilled to see the four-year-old transfer some impressive trackwork to raceday and capitalise on a gun Luke Nolen ride and register her seventh win from just 13 starts.

“I think she’s a high-quality mare,” Moody said. “Her work’s been very good at home and I’ve been very impressed with her.

“The barrier was the tricky thing but, once again, Luke just got her into a lovely spot and when she was on the back of Heart Of Dreams I thought she was going to be very hard to beat.”

That proved the way with the daughter of Redoute’s Choice, who lobbed on the back of Heart Of Dreams four horses back in the running line, sprinting sharply to claim the lead midway down the straight.

Heart Of Dreams, the heavily-backed $2.60 favourite, rallied over the final 100m but King’s Rose held on to score by a short head. Red Colossus stormed into third, three quarters of a length back, with Rekindled Interest, who settled closer than normal, holding his ground to finish fourth.

There were no shortage of promising runs by Cups contenders with Absolutely working home impressive to claim fifth, just in advance of Precedence sixth with Linton (seventh) and Shamrocker (eighth) losing few admirers.

Nolen said the race – which was the champion trainer/jockey combination’s third straight win following wins by Golden Archer and Testascana – couldn’t have worked out better from barrier 11.

“It doesn’t often work out like that, but everything went to script today,” the Scobie Breasley medallist said.

King’s Rose is entered for both the Tatts Cox Plate and the BMW Caulfield Cup, but Moody will wait until after her next start – most likely in the $300,000 Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 10 – before finalising her spring aim.

“Looking at her videos, I think she’s more a mile to a mile-and-a-quarter filly. I’m not convinced she’s a mile-and-a-halfer, she failed to stay in the Oaks but that was at the end of a long campaign.

“I’ll stay open minded, but at this stage up to a mile-and-a-quarter, I think she’s going to be competitive in anything.”

Awesome Archer avails himself to McNeil Stakes success

Peter Moody’s decision to avoid Sepoy with Golden Archer paid dividends when the tenacious colt claimed the $125,000 Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.

The son of Rock Gibraltar, who finished second to the superstar Golden Slipper winner after a wide first-up run in the Vain Stakes, bounced back to prove too speedy for his rivals in the 1200-metre McNeil and make it six wins from nine starts.

“You’d love a stable full of them,” Moody said of Golden Archer post-race. “That was how we hoped things to pan out the other day, but Sepoy brought him undone. I was happy to see him not here and happy to take the spoils.

“He’s done very little wrong throughout his career. I thought he should have run a clear second the other day to Sepoy, that form’s superior to this and he showed that today.”

Golden Archer overcame the second-widest starting position and having to spot most of his nine rivals weight to lead from start to finish.

Jockey Luke Nolen was able to stack the field up shortly after finding the fence after 400m before slipping clear at the top of the straight. Golden Archer ($3.90) had opened a three-length advantage by the 250m and while he got a little tired late he still had 1.8 lengths to spare on the line.

Cross Of Gold ($26), whose only previously start produced a Geelong Synthetic win, finished powerfully from the rear to grab second, a neck in advance of Vatican ($41).

Golden Archer’s stablemate Metonymy, who was heavily backed to start $3.70 favourite, raced outside the leader but was beaten before straightening and had to settle for sixth, one spot behind the Bart Cummings-trained Do You Think ($7.50) who did his best work late.

“I found my spot pretty comfortably, quickened up just before straightening and showed them a clean pair of heels,” Nolen said. “He got a little bit tired late but he’s a lot grosser this time in so he might have been just open to the little bit of improvement.”

Moody will now step Golden Archer up to 1400m, after which a decision will be made on whether he goes on to The Age Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on 8 October or reverts to the sprint trips.

“We’ve probably got to take him to 1400 to have a feel,” he said. “Whether that’s in a Guineas Prelude or the old Show Day Cup (Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes) in open company (I don’t know).

“Something like that just to see if we go down the Guineas path or we can come back and even butt heads with Sepoy again in something like the Manikato (Stakes, Moonee Valley, Sept 30) at weight-for-age.”

Golden Archer’s win was the middle pin of a Moody-Nolen hat-trick, having seen Testascana make it four-straight wins in the $100,000 Listed National Jockeys Celebration Day Stakes (1700m) before combining with King’s Rose to win the day’s feature, the $200,000 Group 2 Memsie Stakes.

CAULFIELD SATURDAY SELECTIONS

Memsie Stakes Meeting – Saturday August 27

Race 1 – 1. Cute Emily 6. Plucky Belle 7. Rahveel

Race 2 – 8. La Praline 4. Happy Angel 3. Status Symbol

Race 3 – 3. Southern Speed 7. Bedlum 10. Midnight Martini

Race 4 – 1. Golden Archer (SPECIAL) 3. Do You Think 11. Metonymy

Race 5 – 6. Testascana 8. Vesper 2. Light Vision

Race 6 – 13. King’s Rose (EACH-WAY SPECIAL) 1. Heart Of Dreams 4. Linton

Race 7 – 4. Grand Duels 1. Atomic Force 5. Avenue

Race 8 – 6. Time Matters 1. Rightfully Yours 8. Pinnacles