Image: Pat Scala
The absence of what Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter described as a “natural top weight” means the Spanish Mission heads the scales for this year’s Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup.
The Peter Moody-trained stayer was unveiled as the 58kg top weight for the two major handicap races of the Victorian spring on Tuesday.
Spanish Mission ran third in last year’s Melbourne Cup at 57kg but moved up 1kg due to the need for a 58kg top weight in the weight release.
Carpenter described his 18th and final set of Cup weights as the most complicated of his career, with the absence of a star European such as Kyprios or Stradivarius or the return of any defending champions, meaning all horses were given more weight than the combination might expect.
“Most of the horses got 1kg more than they would have in any other year,” said Carpenter, who is in charge of administration at the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
“When you don’t have an elite European guest or a defending champion, it’s a bit more difficult.
“But without a natural top weight, it needs to be explained to people and I hope they understand the concept.”
Spanish Mission leads the weights for both races from the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained import Gold Trip, which has been allocated 57.5kg. Mr Brightside is next in the Caulfield Cup at 56.5kg but is not among the Melbourne Cup entries.
Duais, a long-time betting leader in both races, is one of six horses to be allocated 55.5kg in the Melbourne Cup, a weight also carried by Montefilia.
Two five-year-old mares were also allocated 55.5kg in the Caulfield Cup.
“Of the mares that have won the Caulfield Cup, only Tranquil Star has had more weight to win at 56kg in 1942. Verry Elleegant was 55kg in 2020 and Mannerism 54.5kg when she won in 1992,” said Carpenter.
“In the Melbourne Cup, Makybe Diva won the event at 55.5kg in 2004 and at 58kg in 2005, while last year’s hero Verry Elleegant had 57kg on her back.”
The James Ferguson-trained Deauville Legend, the favorite for the Melbourne Cup, was given 55kg, the same weight as another Northern Hemisphere three-year-old, English St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov.
Vow And Declare is the only past winner of both races among the contenders for this year’s races and the Danny O’Brien-trained seven-year-old, who won the 2019 Melbourne Cup, has been allocated 54kg.
Two three-year-olds among the Melbourne Cup entries, Sharp ‘N’ Smart and Skyphios, will both carry 49kg if they attempt to become the first of their year to win the race since Skipton in 1941.
MELBOURNE CUP TOP WEIGHTS
58 kg: Spanish Mission 57.5 kg: Gold Trip 56 kg: Royal Power 55.5 kg: Duais, Order of Knights, Loft, Montefilia, Numerian, No Fight 55 kg: Camorra, Deauville Legend, Eldar Eldarov 54.5 kg: Earlswood, Western Empire, 54 kg: Stockman Promise And Declaration, Young Werthere
CAULFIELD CUP TOP WEIGHTS
58 kg: Spanish Mission 57.5 kg: Gold Trip 56.5 kg: Mr Brightside 56 kg: Royal Power 55.5 kg: Duais, Knights Order, Montefilia, Numerian 54.5 kg: Earlswood, Noconformist, Western Empire 54kg: Mount Popa, Stockman, Vow And Declare
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