Racing Victoria changes Melbourne Cup penalty rules for Caulfield Cup winner
Racing Victoria has announced a significant change in the weight penalty process for the Melbourne Cup.
Under the new rules, the winner of the Caulfield Cup will not be penalized for the Melbourne Cup if that horse has a handicap of 56kg or more in the Flemington event.
If the Caulfield Cup winner has a Melbourne Cup handicap of less than 56kg, the penalty issued for the Caulfield Cup victory will not push its Melbourne Cup weight above 56kg.
Racing Victoria's Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said the new policy came after consultation with both the Melbourne Racing Club and Victoria Racing Club and was the result of historical analysis of the weights carried by Melbourne Cup winners.
Carpenter noted only one of the last 10 Melbourne Cup winners, Viewed in 2008, ran in that year's Caulfield Cup while no Caulfield Cup winner that has carried more than 56kg in the Melbourne Cup has filled a place in the great race over the last 40 years.
"This is the first time since 2010 that the handicaps for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups have been released on the same day, and we were keen to reinvigorate the famous link between these two great Australian races," Carpenter said in a statement.
"There has been much debate around the impact the prospect of a weight penalty in the Melbourne Cup has had in dissuading connections from competing in the Caulfield Cup, and our analysis shows that there is indeed evidence to support this.
"I want to ensure that people understand that any horse given 56kg or more in the Melbourne Cup will by definition already have a well-established performance profile.
"History shows that in the past 40 years, no horse has been able to complete the Cups double carrying more than 56kg in the Melbourne Cup. Gurner's Lane (1982) and Might and Power (1997) both carried 56kg to victory and won narrowly, with the second-placed horses carrying more in the weights.
"In saying that, it is entirely appropriate to consider issuing an additional penalty to a progressive or emerging stayer further down the weights in the Melbourne Cup if successful in Caulfield's premier race.
"The same logic will be applied to any other race where the winner is liable for a re-handicap after the release of weights. Ultimately, in issuing a penalty, the handicapping panel believe that the quantum of the penalty itself is less important than where it takes the horse in the weights scale."
Five Caulfield Cup winners have gone on to complete the Melbourne Cup double in the last 40 years with none carrying more than 56kg.
Gurner's Lane and Might And Power in 1982 and 1997 respectively both carried 56kg but received weight off the respective runners-up Kingston Town (59kg) and Doriemus (57.5kg)