Verry Elleegant (NZ) receives Melbourne Cup penalty

Caulfield Cup winner Verry Elleegant (NZ) has been penalised half-a-kilogram for the Melbourne Cup after holding off Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck to claim last Saturday’s $5 million Group 1 race. 

Racing Victoria Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, announced the penalty on Monday taking Verry Elleegant’s weight to 55.5kg for the $8 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3. 

Verry Ellegant will have to carry the same weight Makybe Diva did in the second on her three consecutive Cup victories before the great mare won with 58kg in 2005. 

Verry Elleegant carried 55kg in her victory on Saturday and only one mare, Tranquil Star in 1942, with 56kg, has carried more weight to win the Caulfield Cup. 

“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,” Carpenter said. 

“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 800 metres 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.” 

There have been 96 Caulfield Cup winners contest the Melbourne Cup and just 11 have completed the double, the last being the mare Ethereal 19 years ago who won the Melbourne Cup with 52kg. 

Since Ethereal, 13 Caulfield Cup winners have contested the Melbourne Cup and not one of them has finished in the first three placegetters. 

Furthermore, since Makybe Diva’s third Melbourne Cup win in 2005, 30 mares have contested the Melbourne Cup and none have finished in the first three placegetters. 

Third acceptances for the Melbourne Cup close on October 2020 with two ballot exempt races remaining, Saturday’s $5 million Group 1 Cox Plate at The Valley and the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on October 31. 

Click here to view the Melbourne Cup order of entry (as at 19 October 2020) 

Verry Elleegant (NZ) and Mark Zahra, picture Racing Photos