Amade penalty decision as Ashrun rockets into Cup calculations

Racing Victoria (RV) Head of Handicapping, David Hegan, has announced that yesterday’s bet365 Geelong Cup (2400m) winner Amade has received a 0.5kg penalty in the $8.4 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) for his Group 3 triumph.

The Phillip Stokes-trained 10-year-old, who registered his first win since April 2021 in a thrilling finish at Geelong, has been lifted off the limit weight of 50kg to 50.5kg.

The penalty and first prize cheque of $300,000 has seen the gelding, a placegetter in this year’s Adelaide Cup (3200m), leap from 41st to 29th in the Melbourne Cup Order of Entry.

Hegan explained: “Amade was too strong in the deciding stages for his rivals yesterday, including Ashrun, More Felons and Magical Lagoon, who would now all meet him on slightly better terms if they clashed again in the Melbourne Cup.

“The 0.5kg penalty considers both the horses he defeated yesterday, his strong finish and his elevated domestic rating, which therefore demand a slight change to his handicap weight.

“It is the same penalty given to recent Geelong Cup winners Emissary, Vengeur Masque and Qewy, the latter two also originally weighted on the Melbourne Cup minimum of 50kg.

“The Geelong Cup has always been a good form reference for the Melbourne Cup. Since the year 2000, 17 Geelong Cup winners have gone on to contest Melbourne Cup and nine have finished in the first four.”

While the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Ashrun narrowly missed at Geelong when finishing second, the performance has all but assured him of a Melbourne Cup start.

The eight-year-old, who finished 10th in the 2020 Melbourne Cup prior to a 34-month racetrack absence, passed the first ballot clause with his top three placing in a Group race over 2300m or further.

Ashrun, who has 51.5kg in the Melbourne Cup, has rocketed from 42nd to 23rd in the Order of Entry which has been updated following the Geelong Cup and the withdrawals of 2022 Melbourne Cup runner-up Emissary and First Immortal.

A total of 46 horses remain in the hunt for a spot among the final field of 24 at Flemington on 7 November 2023 prior to third acceptances at 10am (AEDT) next Monday, 30 October.

Click here to view the updated Lexus Melbourne Cup Order of Entry as at 26 October 2023