Persan receives Cups penalty

Racing Victoria (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, has today announced that he has issued a weight penalty to Persan in the $5.15 million Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) and the $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m).

The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained four-year-old became eligible for a penalty in both races following his win in Saturday’s The Bart Cummings (2510m) at Flemington. 

Persan has been penalised 1kg in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups taking him from the limit weight of 50kg to 51kg in both Group 1 handicaps. 

The Bart Cummings is a ballot exempt race for the Melbourne Cup and as such Persan now joins The Andrew Ramsden winner Oceanex as the horses guaranteed a start in Australia’s iconic race on 3 November at Flemington. 

Carpenter said: “Persan is an emerging young stayer who has now been placed in all 10 starts for the Maher-Eustace stable. He accounted for a strong field in winning The Bart Cummings on Saturday in a performance that warrants him being lifted off the limit weight in both cups. 

“Persan is now exempt from the ballot in the Melbourne Cup and the 1kg penalty in the Caulfield Cup advances him to 51st in the order of entry for that race ahead of second acceptances closing at 12 noon tomorrow.

“The 1kg penalty is the same one given to Almandin when he completed The Bart Cummings – Melbourne Cup double in 2016 and to last year’s The Bart Cummings winner Surprise Baby who went on to run fifth in the Melbourne Cup.”

Whilst Persan has been penalised, Carpenter and the RV handicapping team have elected not to penalise Mirage Dancer in either Cup for his win in the Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young trained import, who recorded his first victory in 10 Australian appearances in the Sydney feature, will remain on 55kg in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

Carpenter said: “Given the margin to runner-up Mugatoo was only a long head and he will already meet that horse 3kg worse in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, we have decided against penalising Mirage Dancer in either race.”

Mirage Dancer is guaranteed a start in both Cups, currently sitting at 13th in the Caulfield Cup order of entry and 15th in the Melbourne Cup.

In other news, the Chris Waller-trained Verry Elleegant is now exempt from the ballot for the Caulfield Cup after her win in the Group 1 TAB Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on Saturday. Under the conditions of both Cups, the talented mare was unable to be penalised for her Flemington triumph.

Second acceptances for the Caulfield Cup and $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) close at 12 noon tomorrow - Tuesday, 6 October - with an updated order of entry for both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups to be released tomorrow afternoon.