Boss weighs up hopes and can’t help smiling
Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune has the ideal impost – 54.5 kilograms, the race-day weight carried by the past three winners – to triumph in this year’s 3200-metre stamina test after weights for Australia’s greatest race were released on Tuesday.
Globetrotting French stayer Dunaden will have to be the equal of Cup legends Makybe Diva and Think Big – the only two horses to have carried 58kg or more to win in the metric era – if he is to triumph under his burden of 58.5kg.
And the heavily hyped Hawkspur, from the Chris Waller stable, must make history by becoming the first galloper to win the Melbourne Cup after scoring in the Queensland Derby if he is to shoulder his burden of 53.5kg to victory on the first Tuesday in November.
These were among the talking points after Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter unveiled the weights for the $6.2 million event, rightfully known these days as the greatest distance race in the world.
Glen Boss, Puissance De Lune’s rider, is a Melbourne Cup master, having won three times aboard the peerless Diva. He is confident the Irish-bred grey can answer the question he has been asked.
”He’s got a bit more than I thought, but I have got a massive respect for Greg Carpenter and his handicapping, he obviously has a very, very healthy respect for my horse thus he’s given him 54.5,” he said. ”I thought he would get 53.5, I was hoping he would get 53.5, I expected 54.
”I have to cop that and hope he lives up to his expectations. If he had 58 I would be confident he would run a super race … I think the horses that are close around him [in the weights] he can beat. When he gets to his proper distance of a mile and a half [2400 metres] and beyond, you know what he’s capable of doing. I think he’s capable of doing it.”
Carpenter admitted a handful of contenders had given him plenty of headaches as he tried to balance their European form with their Australian efforts, particularly horses such as Lloyd Williams’ expensively acquired Sea Moon (which has 56.5kg) and evergreen 2011 runner-up Red Cadeaux (also 56.5kg), whose form on his overseas runs is generally better than that which he shows in England.
Also high up in the weights was last year’s super three-year-old It’s A Dundeel. The four-year-old has 56kg – the same weight Bart Cummings’ champion So You Think carried into third when he was the same age in the 2010 race.
Last year’s winner Green Moon has been lifted 4kg to 57.5kg, but that is something of an anomaly as his real rise is 3kg.
Last year his jockey, Brett Prebble, put up a kilo overweight in the race, meaning he actually carried 54.5kg to victory.
Fiorente, which ran second to Green Moon on his Australian debut for Gai Waterhouse last season, has shown himself to be in fine fettle with his win in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley last Saturday. He rises 1.5kg on his weight last year and will carry 55kg this time round.
Dandino is sure to have his supporters with 54.5kg, the Australian-owned, Newmarket-trained (by Marco Botti) galloper having won the American St Leger last start representing the same connections as Jakkalberry, which ran third last year.
Mount Athos, the Luca Cumani representative which was an unlucky fifth in 2012, has been allocated the same weight – 54kg – that he carried then, while Mark Kavanagh’s Super Cool has half a kilo more, at 54.5.
Aidan O’Brien’s Irish-trained three-year-old Leading Light, which scored in the English St Leger last weekend, has been allotted 52.5kg. He is, however, unlikely to travel, although O’Brien did run third in the Melbourne Cup six years ago with a northern hemisphere three-year-old in Mahler, which had been placed in the English St Leger.
The Aga Khan is hoping to have his first Cup runner this year and his mare Verema has been given 53kg. She will be trying to give Chantilly-based trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre his second winner (following Americain in 2010) and the French their third winner in four years.