Irish import Assign is closer to gaining a start in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1 after receiving a 1kg penalty for his all the way win in the Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield last Saturday.
Jockey Katelyn Mallyon is in line to retain the ride on Assign in the Melbourne Cup after dictating the race from the front on the Lloyd Williams owned stayer to score a nose win over Big Memory in the Group 2 $400,000 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes (2400m).
Assign is now ranked twenty-seventh in the order of entry for the Melbourne Cup n 51kg following his 1kg penalty and now looks a real chance of making the final twenty-four horse field.
“If Assign goes to the Melbourne Cup, I got confirmation from Lloyd this morning that I will be able to ride him which is super exciting,” Mallyon said on Racing.com’s Jury Duty on RSN 927, prior to the penalty announcement.
“I’m hoping he can get into the field.”
Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter said that the Herbert Power Stakes has proven in the past to be a strong lead up race for the Melbourne Cup and he was comfortable giving the Robert Hickmott trained stayer a 1kg penalty.
“Assign was a gutsy winner of the Herbert Power Stakes, narrowly holding off Big Memory and the fast-finishing Pemberley at Caulfield,” Carpenter said.
“A 1kg penalty is the same as that which was given to Linton in 2010, before he finished 21st in the Melbourne Cup behind Americain.
“The Herbert Power Stakes has seen the emergence of a number of Melbourne Cup winners over the past 20 years, with Rogan Josh the last horse to successfully complete the Herbert Power-Melbourne Cup double in 1999.
“More recently however, Protectionist finished fourth in the Herbert Power Stakes at his Australian debut before winning the Cup in 2014, while Shocking finished second in 2009 before winning both the Lexus Stakes and Melbourne Cup.”
Assign is still at long odds for the Melbourne Cup with Ladbrokes.com.au listing the import as a $61 chance behind the John O’Shea trained Hartnell who has jumped to the top of the market order and is now the $5.50 favourite following his emphatic win in the Group 1 $500,000 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 2.
Early Melbourne Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5.50 Hartnell, $9 Bondi Beach, $10 Almandin, $11 Jameka, $13 Heartbreak City, $15 Big Orange, $17 Wicklow Brave, $21 Curren Mirotic, $26 Beautiful Romance, Exospheric, Gallante, Our Ivanhowe, Real Love, Zanteca, $31 Scottish, Tally, The United States, $41 or more the rest.