Cross Counter up in weight, but not tops for Melbourne Cup defense

Racing Victoria Press Release
September 10, 2019 12:05pm
Aidan O'Brien's elite stayer Kew Gardens has been assigned the top weight of 58kg for the 2019 Melbourne Cup, known in Australia as "the race that stops a nation."
Should he travel to Melbourne for the 2019 Victorian Spring Racing Carnival, Kew Gardens -- a winner of two Group 1 races  -- will set the benchmark for the 159th Melbourne Cup set for Tuesday, Nov. 5, at Flemington.

Racing Victoria's Executive General Manager of Racing, Greg Carpenter, unveiled the weights Tuesday for Australia's richest handicap race won last year by Cross Counter, who will carry 57.5kg this year as he bids to become the first horse since Makybe Diva in 2005 to retain his crown

The 6.5kg increase from last year's weight of 51kg is the joint second-highest progression in the weight allocated to a Melbourne Cup winner since 1970, with only Gala Supreme -- in 1974 -- receiving a larger increase of 8.5kg.
Avilius has been handed 57.5kg in the Melbourne Cup, with brilliant mare Lys Gracieux -- trained in Japan by Yoshito Yahagi -- next in the weight scale on 57kg.
"Kew Gardens was the world's joint highest-rated stayer alongside Stradivarius last year, he was a dominant winner of the 2018 St Leger at Doncaster, and so is a worthy top weight among the 152 entries for this year's Melbourne Cup," Carpenter said.
"Cross Counter will carry 6.5kg more than when he won the Melbourne Cup, which is the same increase as Let's Elope in 1992; but given the nature of his victory last year and the natural progression in the weight-for-age benchmark from a three-year-old to a four-year-old, I felt it was an appropriate penalty to impose.
"...Inevitably the internationals will again pose a formidable challenge to the locally-trained stayers, with the first three home in the 2018 Melbourne Cup all set to return to Melbourne this year; but if the likes of Andrew Ramsden winner Steel Prince and Adelaide Cup winner Surprise Baby can maintain their form throughout the spring, I'm sure the visiting horses will have a real fight on their hands."
The weights allocated to other notable entries are as follows:

The 2018 Melbourne Cup place-getters Marmelo (Hughie Morrison) and Prince Of Arran (Charlie Fellowes) both have the same weight as they carried 12 months previously, with 56kg and 53kg, respectively.

Northern Hemisphere 3-year-olds have won the past two Melbourne Cups and the equal highest weighted on 52.5kg are Irish import Constantinople (now trained by theLindsay Park team of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig); German Derby runner-up Django Freeman (Robert Hickmott); and Lonsdale Cup placegetter Il Paradiso (Aidan O'Brien).

Six-time Melbourne Cup-winning owner Lloyd Williams has multiple runners in contention for a start in the 2019 edition, including the Joseph O'Brien-trained trio of Master of Reality (55.5kg), Latrobe (55kg) and Twilight Payment (55kg); plus Homesman (56kg), Johannes Vermeer (55kg) and Yucatan (54.5kg), all formerly trained by Aidan O'Brien but now prepared locally by Liam Howley.
To view the complete list of Melbourne Cup weights, please click here.


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