Japanese stayer Admire Rakti has been allocated a 2014 Melbourne Cup penalty of half a kilogram for winning the Caulfield Cup on Saturday.
Admire Rakti carried the top weight of 58 kilograms in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), but he was still able to work home strongly down the outside in the final stages of the race to record an impressive win from Rising Romance and Lucia Valentina.
Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter said that he was impressed with the performance of Admire Rakti in the Caulfield Cup and elected to award him the half a kilogram penalty, but he remains confident that the Heart’s Cry entire still has every chance to become the first horse since Think Big in 1975 to carry more than 58 kilograms to victory.
“I think the quality of his performance demanded a penalty,” Carpenter told Racing.com.
“In making the decision I had to take into account the horses he beat on Saturday, but also the new challenges that lie ahead at Flemington.
“Internationals like Red Cadeaux, Cavalryman, Willing Foe, Protectionist, Mutual Regard and Royal Diamond and potentially Cox Plate runners like Fawkner and Silent Achiever, present a new challenge for Admire Rakti and this had to be considered when determining the penalty.
“It is the lowest penalty given to the Caulfield Cup winner since Ming Dynasty escaped one altogether in 1980, but this is tempered by the fact that since the Melbourne Cup went metric in 1972 only Think Big in 1975 has carried more than 58kg to victory.
“At the end of the day my decision-making process is based around giving the horse a weight that I think he can win with and being fair to the other horses that run against him in the Melbourne Cup.”
Riichi Kondo, the owner of Admire Rakti, revealed yesterday that he would consider withdrawing the talented stayer from the Melbourne Cup if he received a penalty due to concerns about the welfare of the six-year-old.
Kondo indicated that the Group 1 Japan Cup (2413m) at the end of November could prove a more appropriate option for Admire Rakti, but Carpenter that said that he remains hopeful connections will give Admire Rakti the chance to become the first horse to complete the Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double since Ethereal in 2001.
“If the owner decides that they would rather not run in the race and go back and contest the Japan Cup I would be disappointed but I would respect that decision,” Carpenter said.
“They were probably a little bit surprised that they ended up with 58kg in both the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup but they still travelled down here, they took up the challenge and they won the Caulfield Cup in an immensely impressive style and I hope they take up the challenge of trying to win the Melbourne Cup – the greatest 3200m race in the world.
“You don’t get a 3200m race anywhere else in the world worth $6.2 million run under handicap conditions so I hope they take up the challenge.”
Admire Rakti is currently available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $4.60 and is a clear favourite from German stayer Protectionist ($6.50) and Caulfield Cup placegetter Lucia Valentina ($7.50).