Admire Rakti will have to carry 58.5kg to claim Japan’s second victory in the Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) after today being handed a 0.5kg weight penalty in the 4 November feature.

The Tomoyuki Umeda-trained stayer has been penalised for his stylish victory in Saturday’s $3 million Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) – the first by a Japanese horse.

Racing Victoria (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said the seven-year-old could not escape penalty despite being the topweight for the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup.
“While the Caulfield Cup was not run in fast time, Admire Rakti was enormously impressive making a long sustained run down the middle of the track and he was strong through the line at the end of 2400m suggesting that 3200m at Flemington would be to his liking,” Carpenter said.

“In making a decision on whether to penalise the horse in the Melbourne Cup for his maiden Group 1 triumph I had to strike a balance between the terms on which those that finished behind him at Caulfield would meet him next start and the new wave of rivals that awaits him at Flemington.

“Internationals Red Cadeaux, Cavalryman, Willing Foe, Protectionist, Mutual Regard and Royal Diamond, and potentially Cox Plate runners like Fawkner and Silent Achiever, present a new challenge for Admire Rakti and this had to be considered when determining the penalty. 

“I have penalised Admire Rakti 0.5kg for his win thus lifting the original topweight to 58.5kg in the Melbourne Cup. This is the lowest penalty given to the Caulfield Cup winner since Ming Dynasty escaped one in 1980, but this is tempered by the fact that since the Melbourne Cup went metric in 1972 only Think Big (58.5kg) in 1975 has carried more than 58kg to victory.” 

Since Think Big, 33 horses have run in the Melbourne Cup with 58kg or more and only Makybe Diva (58kg, 2005) has been able to win. A total of 19 have carried more than 58kg in that period with Kingston Town (1982, 2nd, 59kg) and Vintage Crop (1995, 3rd, 59kg) the only ones to place.

Carpenter did reiterate that the weights for this year’s Melbourne Cup were unique and that this formed part of the process in determining whether Admire Rakti would be penalised.

“The weights for the Melbourne Cup were issued on 16 September and under the Australian Rules of Racing the top weighted horse was required to have at least 58kg,” Carpenter explained.
“Admire Rakti was considered the best performed horse amongst the entries and was allocated 58kg, but in any other year over the past decade he would likely have been allocated less weight. 

“In accordance with the need to declare a 58kg topweight on 16 September, the weights of most horses, including Admire Rakti, were 2kg higher than they would have been in any other year.

“Lucia Valentina as a further example has 53kg in the Melbourne Cup and will be required to set a weight carrying record for a four-year-old mare. Light Fingers currently holds that mark having carried 52.5kg in 1965.
“It should also be noted that Admire Rakti’s original weight in the Caulfield Cup was 56kg but the weights of all horses were raised 2kg at final acceptance time, so that generally they were similar to the weights issued in the Melbourne Cup.”
Carpenter explained that 91 Caulfield Cup winners have contested the Melbourne Cup with 11 completing the double, the most recent being Ethereal in 2001 when she was penalised 2kg to carry 52kg in her Flemington triumph.

Ethereal is one of five horses to have completed the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double in the past 40 years. The others are Might And Power (1997, 56kg), Doriemus (1995, 54.5kg), Let’s Elope (1991, 51kg) and Gurner’s Lane (1982, 56kg).

The top five weighted horses in the Melbourne Cup are; Admire Rakti (JPN, 58.5kg), Cavalryman (UK, 57kg), Fawkner (AUS, 57kg), Green Moon (AUS, 57kg) and Red Cadeaux (UK, 57kg).