French superstar Dunaden will have to break a metric weight carrying record if he is to become the sixth horse to win the Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on multiple occasions.
The Mikel Delzangles-trained winner of the 2011 Cup will have to carry 59kg in his title defence on 6 November after today being penalised 1kg for his stunning win in Saturday’s BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Not since the weights for the Melbourne Cup went metric in 1972 has a horse carried more than 58.5kg to victory with Think Big (58.5kg in 1975) and Makybe Diva (58kg in 2005) the only ones to have won with more than 57kg in that time.
Sixteen horses have carried 59kg or more in the Melbourne Cup in the last 40 years and all have failed to win. Included amongst that group are local superstars Gunsynd, Kingston Town, Better Loosen Up, Super Impose and international greats Vintage Crop, Vinnie Roe and Yeats.
Racing Victoria (RV) General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said that Dunaden, who was the original Melbourne Cup topweight along with 2010 winner Americain, deserved to be penalised given the authority of his victory at Caulfield.
“Dunaden again proved himself one of the most gifted 2400-metre horses in the world on Saturday winning the BMW Caulfield Cup with 58kg in what was an outstanding performance,” Carpenter said.
“Given the quality of field he beat and the manner in which he won the race the victory demanded a review of his Emirates Melbourne Cup handicap and I have penalised him 1kg thus rising to 59kg.
“I am aware however that a new challenge awaits him in the Melbourne Cup with horses of the calibre of Mount Athos (54kg), Galileo’s Choice (53.5kg), Green Moon (53.5kg), Mourayan (53.5kg), Tac De Boistron (53.5kg) and Brigantin (53kg) all having elected not to run at Caulfield.
“His arch rival Red Cadeaux comes into the race with 55.5kg and Dunaden, with his 59kg, now meets that horse 2.5kg worse than he did in their epic finish to last year’s race. In terms of distance in a 3200-metre contest 1kg is considered to be the equivalent of almost 2 lengths.”
Dunaden will be seeking to become the 12th horse to win the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups in the same year and the first since Ethereal in 2001.
“Only Rising Fast in 1955 with 9st 5lb has carried a weight rivalling the 59kg allocated to Dunaden when completing the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double,” Carpenter explained.
Carpenter noted that Galilee was assigned 56.5kg after his Caulfield Cup win in 1966, and Might And Power (1997) and Gurner’s Lane (1982) were asked to carry 56kg each in their subsequent Melbourne Cup victories.
The top six weighted horses in the Melbourne Cup, to be run at Flemington on 6 November, are Dunaden (59kg), Americain (58kg), Manighar (57kg), Red Cadeaux (55.5kg), Jakkalberry (55.5kg) and Winchester (55.5kg), with Manighar to be withdrawn when second acceptances are taken on 29 October 2012.