Racing Victoria (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, has today announced that he has issued a weight penalty to Mer De Glace in the $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Carpenter has penalised the Japanese stayer 1kg for his win in the $5 million Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) on Saturday taking him to 56kg in the 2019 Melbourne Cup to be run at Flemington on 5 November.
The Hisashi Shimizu-trained five-year-old became the 10th Japanese-trained horse to contest the Caulfield Cup and the second to win the world’s richest 2400m handicap after Admire Rakti triumphed in 2014.
This year’s renewal of the Caulfield Cup was highly competitive with a number of the beaten horses racing without luck. Mer de Grace swept down the centre of the course in the straight to beat Vow and Declare by one length with a head to Mirage Dancer in third place.
Mer de Glace’s win made him exempt from the ballot for the Melbourne Cup and moved him from 60th position in the ballot order to equal first alongside The Andrew Ramsden (2800m) winner Steel Prince and The Bart Cummings (2500m) winner Surprise Baby.
The Danny O’Brien-trained Vow and Declare earned $700,000 for his second placing in the Caulfield Cup and as a result has moved from 36th to 31st in the Order of Entry.
In announcing the penalty Carpenter said: “Mer de Glace was enormously impressive in winning a very competitive renewal of the Caulfield Cup.
“The first six placegetters officially finished within two lengths of each of other and there was a litany of hard luck stories from the beaten runners.
“The 1kg penalty is the same given to Caulfield Cup winners Boom Time (2017), Mongolian Khan (2015), Dunaden (2012) and Viewed (2009) over the last decade.
“Mer De Glace faces a new challenge in the Melbourne Cup over 3200m at Flemington in 15 days and a new wave of challengers given 17 of the top 24 horses in the current Melbourne Cup Order of Entry did not compete in the Caulfield Cup.”
If he takes his place at Flemington, Mer de Glace will seek to become the first horse to complete the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double since New Zealand mare Ethereal in 2001. Since then 12 Caulfield Cup winners have contested the Melbourne Cup with none able to achieve a top three finish.
Only Elvstroem (fourth in 2004), Master O’Reilly (eighth in 2007), Viewed (seventh in 2009), Fawkner (sixth in 2013) and Best Solution (eighth in 2018) have managed to finish in the top 10 in the Melbourne Cup after winning the Caulfield Cup.
Carpenter noted that the last Melbourne Cup winner to have competed in the Caulfield Cup in the same year was Viewed in 2008, who ran 10th at Caulfield before winning the Flemington feature.
Since 2008, 81 Caulfield Cup runners have contested the Melbourne Cup with the best placed finishers being Johannes Vermeer (second in 2017); and Lucas Cranach (2011), Jakkalberry (2012) and Who Shot Thebarman (2014) who all ran third.
Carpenter further noted that the winner of Saturday’s St Leger Stakes (2600m) at Randwick, Hush Writer, was unable to be penalised as the race does not carry black type status. The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian-Bott trained stayer currently sits in 52nd position in the Order of Entry on the limit weight of 50kg.
Third acceptances for the Melbourne Cup close at 10am (AEDT) on Monday, 28 October.
Click here to view the updated Lexus Melbourne Cup Order of Entry.
Click here to view the Melbourne Cup penalties to Caulfield Cup winners since 1980.