The 53 entrants left in the running for the Group 1 Kennedy Cantala (1600m), including last year’s winner Best Of Days, have today been issued their weights for the $2 million feature at Flemington on Saturday, 2 November.
Godolphin galloper Best Of Days, trained by James Cummings, will be shouldered with 56kg as he bids to become the first horse since Seascay in 1995 to retain the Kennedy Cantala crown.
The topweight of 58kg has been jointly assigned to Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) contender Te Akau Shark, trained in New Zealand by Jamie Richards, and a pair of experienced campaigners in Humidor (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace) and John Thompson’s consistent seven-year-old Dreamforce.
Te Akau Shark came agonisingly close to breaking through at Group 1 level on his last start, in the TAB Epsom (1600m), and the only horse that beat him that day – fellow Kiwi-bred Kolding – is on 56kg alongside Best Of Days and the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Land Of Plenty.
Other notable entries include Saeed bin Suroor’s progressive colt Royal Meeting (55.5kg), who narrowly lost his unbeaten record on his Australian debut in the Group 3 Ladbrokes Moonga Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday, 19 October; another Cox Plate runner in Verry Elleegant (55.5kg), trained by Chris Waller; and last-start Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) winner Fierce Impact, who has been allocated 55kg.
The first three finishers in the Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m), held at The Valley this Saturday (26 October), will be exempt from the ballot for the Kennedy Cantala – one of four Group 1 contests on AAMI Victoria Derby Day. The Crystal Mile field includes several Kennedy Cantala contenders including Best Of Days, Dreamforce, Madison County (55kg) and Cliff’s Edge (54.5kg).
The first three home will also be in line for a $500,000 bonus should any of them go on to win the Kennedy Cantala, and the same applies to the Toorak Handicap, meaning winner Fierce Impact and runner-up Night’s Watch could both be in for a bumper payday next Saturday.
For the full list of Kennedy Cantala weights, please click here