Racing Victoria (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, has today announced that he has issued a weight penalty to Verry Elleegant in the $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on 3 November.
The Chris Waller-trained mare became eligible for a penalty following Saturday’s triumph in the $5.15 million Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) which secured the Kiwi-bred a ballot exemption in the Melbourne Cup alongside Oceanex and Persan.
Verry Elleegant has been penalised 0.5kg taking her weight in the Melbourne Cup to 55.5kg.
Carpenter said: “Saturday’s Caulfield Cup was an outstanding edition of the 2400m handicap and it was fought out by two world class horses with Verry Elleegant strong on the line and safely holding Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck.
“Verry Elleegant carried the second highest weight for a winning mare in Caulfield Cup history behind Tranquil Star’s 56kg in 1942 and her hard-fought victory was her sixth Group 1 race to underline her elite standing.
“When we took into account her performance on Saturday, the relative weight to those placed behind her and her overall record, we felt that 0.5kg was the appropriate penalty which equates to a length over 3200m. She will now carry 55.5kg in the Melbourne Cup.
“Only one mare has carried more weight to victory in the Melbourne Cup which was Makybe Diva when she carried 58kg to her third win in 2005. She carried 55.5kg when winning her second Melbourne Cup – the task that has now been set for Verry Elleegant.
“The Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double is a significant challenge and one that has become more difficult in recent times with the growing international presence and the different paths taken by horses to the first Tuesday in November.
“Despite the outstanding performances by Verry Elleegant and runner-up Anthony Van Dyck in the Caulfield Cup, the top three in the Melbourne Cup market did not run on Saturday in Tiger Moth, Russian Camelot and Surprise Baby, neither did experienced horses like Master of Reality and Twilight Payment.
“A further 800m and a new wave of competitors await Verry Elleegant at Flemington and history says that with 55.5kg she faces a challenge to become just the 12th horse in 143 years of the Caulfield Cup to race on and win the Melbourne Cup.”
There have been 96 Caulfield Cup winners contest the Melbourne Cup and just 11 have completed the double, the last of those being the mare Ethereal 19 years ago who won the Melbourne Cup with 52kg.
Since Ethereal, 13 Caulfield Cup winners have contested the Melbourne Cup a few weeks later and not one of them has finished in the first three placegetters.
Furthermore, since Makybe Diva’s third Melbourne Cup win in 2005, 30 mares have contested the Melbourne Cup and none have finished in the first three placegetters.
Third acceptances for the Melbourne Cup close at 10am (AEDT) next Monday, 26 October 2020 with two ballot exemption races remaining – this Saturday’s Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley and the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on 31 October.
An updated Melbourne Cup order of entry has been released today with the top 24 ranked horses remaining the same after the weekend, with only the order changing with Verry Elleegant jumping from sixth to first off the back of her Caulfield Cup win.
Click here to view the Melbourne Cup order of entry (as at 19 October 2020)