The Melbourne Racing Club has welcomed a change in the re-handicapping policy for the Caulfield Cup winner in the Melbourne Cup.
Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter announced on Tuesday the Caulfield Cup winner would not be given a Melbourne Cup weight penalty if it already has 56kg or more.
Should the Caulfield Cup winner have less than 56kg, a penalty for the Melbourne Cup will not take that horse higher than 56kg.
Carpenter said the change had been reached in consultation with the Victoria Racing Club which hosts the Melbourne Cup (3200m) and Melbourne Racing Club which holds the Caulfield Cup (2400m) and was designed to reinvigorate the link between Australia’s two premier staying handicaps.
Viewed in 2008 is the only Melbourne Cup winner in the past 10 years to have contested that year’s Caulfield Cup compared to seven in the decade before.
Eight Caulfield Cup winners in the past 40 years have carried more than 56kg in the Melbourne Cup with none finishing in the top three.
It means horses high in the weights can contest the Caulfield Cup without fear of incurring a further penalty for the Melbourne Cup.
“It’s something that we’ve been addressing in consultation with Racing Victoria and the VRC for some time, obviously in the hope that the penalty applied to the Caulfield Cup winner, if it’s not eradicated at the very least the re-handicapping is addressed,” MRC general manager of racing, Jake Norton, said.
“And we’re really grateful to Greg Carpenter for his consideration and his analysis of that. I think it’s absolutely fair and reasonable, so we’re quite pleased.
“Hopefully it will encourage those horses closer to the top of the weights, in both Cups, to run in both and re-establish that link between the two iconic races.”
Carpenter said the same logic would be applied to any other race where the winner was liable for a weight penalty after the release of Melbourne Cup handicaps.