Change to handicapping policy for Caulfield-Melbourne Cup
Racing Victoria (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, on Tuesdday announced a change in policy around the re-handicapping of the BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) winner in the Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The policy change considers the performances of Caulfield Cup winners over the past 40 years, and is designed to reinvigorate the iconic link between Australia’s two premier handicap races.
After an extensive review of Melbourne Cup results, the RV handicapping panel has determined that the winner of the Caulfield Cup will not be re-handicapped in the Melbourne Cup if they have already been allocated 56kg or more for the Flemington feature.
Furthermore, should the winner of the Caulfield Cup be weighted at less than 56kg in the Melbourne Cup, the quantum of any penalty issued will not take the weight of the horse higher than 56kg on the first Tuesday in November.
Analysis shows that just one of the last ten Melbourne Cup winners had competed in that year’s Caulfield Cup, namely the Bart Cummings-trained Viewed in 2008. In the decade prior, a total of seven Melbourne Cup winners had run in the Caulfield showpiece prior to their triumph.
Over the past 40 years, eight Caulfield Cup winners have subsequently carried more than 56kg in the Melbourne Cup and none of them have managed to finish in the first three placings, with only three recording a top ten finish.
Changes ahead for Caulfield Cup winners if they allocated 56kg for the Melbourne Cup, picture ThoroughbredNEWS
In making the announcement at the release of weights for the 2017 Caulfield and Melbourne Cups at RV, Carpenter said that the change in policy had been reached in consultation with the hosts of the two races, the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) and Victoria Racing Club (VRC).
“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.
“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.
“In announcing today’s change of policy, 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.”
Over the past four decades, 30 Caulfield Cup winners have lined up in the Melbourne Cup 17 days later, with five carrying a penalty and winning.
The mighty mare Let’s Elope carried 51kg to victory in the 1991 Melbourne Cup, Doriemus won in 1995 carrying 54.5kg and Ethereal triumphed with 52kg in 2001.
The only other dual winners were Gurner’s Lane and Might and Power, both of whom won with 56kg on their backs. The pair, two of the greats of the modern era, won by narrow margins and in both instances carried less weight than the horses finishing second, Kingston Town (59kg) and Doriemus (57.5kg) respectively.
When nominations were released today for the 2017 Melbourne Cup, five horses were allocated 56kg or more. Of that quintet, Hartnell, Almandin, Admire Deus and Humidor are also nominated for the Caulfield Cup.
The Caulfield Cup winners who have subsequently carried more than 56kg in that year’s Melbourne Cup are listed below.
Year | Caulfield Cup Winner | Melbourne Cup Weight | Placing
1980 | MING DYNASTY 58.0 17th
1986 | MR LOMONDY 56.5 8th
1990 | SYDESTON 58.5 11th
1999 | SKY HEIGHTS 56.5 17th
2004 | ELVSTROEM 56.5 4th
2009 | VIEWED 58.0 7th
2012 | DUNADEN 59.0 14th
2014 | ADMIRE RAKTI 58.5 22nd