Racing Victoria (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, has today announced that he has issued a weight penalty to Al Galayel in the $5.15 million Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) and the $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The in-form Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained seven-year-old became eligible for a penalty in both races following his victory in Friday night’s Group 3 Ladbrokes JRA Cup over 2040m at The Valley.
Carpenter has penalised Al Galayel 1.5kg in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups taking him to 52.5kg in both races.
Al Galayel passed the ballot for the Caulfield Cup with his JRA Cup win and rises to 47th in the order of entry for the world’s richest 2400m handicap on 17 October. The Irish-bred gelding is yet to pass the ballot clause for the Melbourne Cup which will be run at Flemington on 3 November.
Carpenter said: “Al Galayel has struck a rich vein of form this season winning his past three starts and his maiden Group 3 victory at The Valley on Friday night came in dominant fashion by a comfortable margin.
“It was a competitive field that Al Galayel defeated with three Derby winners, a VRC Oaks winner and last year’s Caulfield Cup placegetter Mirage Dancer among the beaten brigade which added merit to his performance.”
The 1.5kg penalty is the same given to 2010 JRA Cup winner Precedence who did not contest the Caulfield Cup but ran eighth in the Melbourne Cup that year. Four of the last five JRA Cup winners have not been penalised, with 2016 winner Real Love the exception receiving a 0.5kg penalty before finishing fifth with 52kg in the Caulfield Cup.
ATC Derby (2018) winner Levendi didn’t triumph in the JRA Cup on Friday night, but his third placing was enough to see him pass the Caulfield Cup ballot. The Peter Gelagotis trained entire has 53.5kg and has moved up to 40th place in the order of entry.
The winners of two other Australian races across the weekend, the Group 3 JRA Colin Stephen Quality (2400m) at Rosehill on Saturday and the Listed R.M. Ansett Classic (2400m) at Mornington yesterday, were eligible for penalties.
The Matthew Smith-trained French import Attorney passed the ballot for both Cups with his fast finishing win in the Colin Stephen Quality, while Al Galayel’s stablemate High Emocean did likewise in the Melbourne Cup courtesy of her Ansett Classic triumph. She is not nominated for the Caulfield Cup.
Carpenter has announced that neither Attorney or High Emocean will be penalised for their victories due to the strength of their opposition and the fact that both horses were on the limit weight. As a result, Attorney remains on 50kg in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups – the same weight that High Emocean has in the latter.
Despite that, Attorney moves up to 67th in the Caulfield Cup order of entry having passed the ballot and to equal 78th with High Emocean in the Melbourne Cup.
In other news, although he is doubtful to contest the event, boom horse Russian Camelot is now exempt from the ballot for the Caulfield Cup after his victory in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at the same track on Saturday.
There are four ballot exemption races remaining for the Caulfield Cup, being the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington this Saturday, the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on 10 October, and the Group 3 Coongy Handicap (2000m) at Caulfield on 14 October.
There are also four more ballot exemption races to come for the Melbourne Cup, being the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington this Saturday, the Caulfield Cup, the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on 24 October, and the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on 31 October.
First acceptances for the Melbourne Cup will be taken at 12 noon tomorrow – Tuesday, 29 September – with an updated order of entry for both Cups to be released tomorrow afternoon.