Caulfield Cup winner Verry Elleegant has been penalised 0.5kg for the 2020 Lexus Melbourne Cup.
Verry Elleegant’s Melbourne Cup weight now rises to 55.5 kgs, only one mare has carried and won with an equal or heavier weight, that was Makybe Diva (58kgs) in her third Melbourne Cup. She won her second Melbourne Cup in 2004 with 55.5kgs and her first with 51kgs.
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The news is positive for connections of the 6-time Group One winner who had said anything more may see them bypass the 2-mile showcase.
Owner Brae Sokolski spoke on RSN927am about the plans for their champion.
“If she was to receive 1.5kg, I’d strongly suggest she won’t be running on the first Tuesday in November, and a 1kg penalty would be a borderline decision.”
Racing Victoria’s executive general manager of racing and chief handicapper Greg Carpenter explained Verry Elleegant’s weight rise:
‘’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 3200 metres,’’ he said. ‘’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.
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.”