The 2014 Melbourne Cup weights have been released, with Japanese stayer Admire Rakti allocated the top weight of 58 kilograms for the Group 1 event that will be held at Flemington on November 4.
Admire Rakti is set to arrive in Australia at the end of the week, along with Bande, and he is a confirmed starter in both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter admitted in the lead-up to the 2014 Melbourne Cup weights that he was struggling to find a top weight for ‘the race that stops a nation’, but believes that Admire Rakti is worthy of the minimum top weight of 58 kilograms.
Admire Rakti has not recorded a race win since he took out the Group 3 Diamond Stakes (3419m) in Tokyo in February of last year, but has performed well in races like the Group 1 Tenno Sho (3218m) and Group 1 Japan Cup (2413m).
Red Cadeaux is set to become the first overseas-trained horse to run in the Melbourne Cup on four occasions and he has been allocated 57.5 kilograms by Carpenter.
The veteran stayer carried 56.5 kilograms when he finished second behind Fiorente in the 2013 edition of the Melbourne Cup and will have the chance to become the oldest horse in history to win ‘the race that stops nation’.
Lloyd Williams had an extremely strong hand in the 2013 Melbourne Cup and two of his leading stayers Green Moon and Fawkner have been allocated 57 kilograms in the 2014 Melbourne Cup weights.
Green Moon has not recorded a race win since he took out the 2012 edition of the Melbourne Cup with 54.5 kilograms on his back and finished a disappointing 21st with 57.5 kilograms last year.
Fawkner made up plenty of ground late to finish sixth in the Melbourne Cup carrying 54.5 kilograms last year and he faces a much tougher assignment in the 2014 edition of the race, but returned to racing with an outstanding second behind Dissident in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington last Saturday.
The other stayer that has been allocated the 2014 Melbourne Cup weight of 57 kilograms is Godolphin-owned Cavalryman, who is set to return to Australia for a second tilt at the Melbourne Cup.
Cavalryman carried 54 kilograms when 12th behind Green Moon in the 2012 Melbourne Cup, but he is arguably racing in career best form after taking out the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (2414m) and Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3218m) at the start of his 2014 racing season.
Dandino, Protectionist and Bande are all currently in quarantine ahead of their trips to Australia for the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and they have all been allocated 56.5 kilograms.
Bande is a progressive Japanese stayer that is set to contest both the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup and he has form around the likes of leading Japanese gallopers Epiphaneia and Gold Ship.
Dandino will be returning to Australia for the second year in a row after finishing fifth in the Melbourne Cup last year, while Protectionist will have the chance to emulate the feat of Americain and complete the Prix Kergorlay/Melbourne Cup double.
Other key weights for European-trained Melbourne Cup contenders include Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock-owned Seismos (56kg), Johnny Murtagh-trained Mutual Regard (55kg), talented mare Pale Mimosa (55kg) and Godolphin stayer Willing Foe (55kg).
The Offer remains clear favourite in 2014 Melbourne Cup betting markets and the Gai Waterhouse-trained galloper is set to retain her place on top of the market after he was allocated 56.5 kilograms.
The Monsun gelding finished his autumn preparation with a string of impressive wins that was headlined by a dominant performance in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) and he returned to the races with a promising fifth in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 6.
Talented Kiwi mare Silent Achiever has also been allocated 56.5 kilograms in Melbourne Cup weights and she returned to racing with a strong fourth behind Dissident in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30.
Puissance De Lune has not passed the ballot for the 2014 Melbourne Cup, but has still been allocated 56 kilograms, while Crown Oaks winner Kirramosa and Vinery Stud Stakes winner Lucia Valentina have both been awarded 53 kilograms.
The 2014 Melbourne Cup order of entry will be released on Friday and first acceptances will be released on October 7.