Melbourne Cup gets weighty: Viewed gains extra kilogram
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Viewed is now equal topweight with 2007 winner Efficient for this year’s race after being penalised a kilogram to 58kg for his Caulfield Cup win.
His penalty is the smallest for a Caulfield Cup winner since 1989 when Cole Diesel was also rehandicapped a kilogram and finished 16th in the Melbourne Cup.
Viewed is on track to give Bart Cummings his 13th win in the big race and join 11 other horses to claim the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double in the same year.
Aided by Brad Rawiller’s freakish rails hugging ride on Saturday, Viewed became only the third horse to win the Caulfield Cup a year after winning the Melbourne Cup.
Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter said Viewed’s Caulfield Cup win, by 2-1/4 lengths carrying 57kg, confirmed him as one of the great stayers of the modern era, but he saw a modest rehandicap as appropriate given that it meant a steep weight rise compared to last year’s Melbourne Cup.
"He was already high up in the Melbourne Cup weights and his new weight of 58kg represents an increase of five kilograms on his Cup winning weight in 2008," Carpenter said.
In the past 30 years, 26 horses have run in the Melbourne Cup with 58kg or more, but only one, Makybe Diva in 2005, has been successful.
"In determining the penalty it was important to understand that additional weight will have a greater impact on the performance of a horse higher up in the handicap than it will on a lightly weighted runner.
Viewed and Efficient are $6 co-favourites for the Melbourne Cup with Sportsbet, ahead of $7 chances Speed Gifted and Alcopop.
Carpenter said Viewed would meet a new range of top class horses in the Melbourne Cup.
"I was also mindful that the Melbourne Cup represents a new challenge for Viewed with Efficient, Speed Gifted and Alcopop, last start winners of the Turnbull Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap and Herbert Power Stakes respectively set to run, along with a second wave of international entries who did not contest the Caulfield Cup," Carpenter said.
Viewed’s Melbourne Cup task is historically difficult when looking at his new weight and the record of past Caulfield Cup winners.
Rising Fast is the only one of 11 to win the Melbourne Cup with more than 57kg. He carried 59.5kg in 1954.
In the past 30 years Ming Dynasty (1980) and Northerly (2002) both won the Caulfield Cup with more weight than Viewed.
They carried 58kg with Ming Dynasty escaping a penalty and finishing 17th in the Melbourne Cup while Northerly was penalised 2kg for his Caulfield Cup win but didn’t start in the Melbourne Cup.
Third declarations for the Melbourne Cup close next Monday.
By Robert Windmill