Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter defended the 58 kilograms top-weight that was allocated to Japanese stayer Admire Rakti at the 2014 Melbourne Cup weights announcement this morning.
Carpenter admitted in the lead-up the Melbourne Cup weights announcement that he had great difficulty working out the handicaps for the 2014 edition of ‘the race that stops a nation’ with the absence of an obvious top-weight and revealed that he was forced to raise the weights that were allocated for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) a fortnight ago.
The weight of Admire Rakti was raised to 58 kilograms because Caulfield Cup top-weights Mukhadram and Dan Excel were not included in the Melbourne Cup entries, but he believes that the Japanese stayer, who he compares to 2006 Melbourne Cup winner Delta Blues, was a deserving top weight for the Group 1 event.
“It’s a different year, it is a transitional year, but in my view it is a year of opportunity,” Carpenter said at the Melbourne Cup weights announcement.
“There’s a new group of horses coming through, but also some horses that we know well.
“People have asked can I compare Admire Rakti to Delta Blues, Delta Blues ran third in a Japan Cup and ran third in the Hansch Daishoten.
“There are parallels between their form.
“Delta Blues won the Melbourne Cup with 56kg, that’s the weight Admire Rakti had in the Caulfield Cup, but with a minimum top weight of 58kg he had to rise with the absence of Mukhadram and Dan Excel.
“Most horses have been lifted two kilos from their Caulfield Cup weight, but there are exceptions.”
Hong Kong-based jockey Zac Purton has been booked to ride Admire Rakti in both the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup and he was one of a number of members in the racing community that took to Twitter to question the weight given to the son of Heart’s Cry.
Japan-based racing journalist Graham Pavey posted on Twitter that he considered it farcical that a horse who had only recorded a single win at Group 3 level could be top weight for the Melbourne Cup and Purton was quick to agree with the sentiment.
“Couldn’t agree more,” Purton posted on Twitter.
“Being a handicap it makes me cringe, but it makes the flight down easier.
“I guess you can’t have everything.”
Despite being allocated the top weight, Admire Rakti has been kept safe at Melbourne Cup odds of $17 with Ladbrokes Australia and is on the third line of betting for the Group 1 event behind The Offer ($13) and Bande ($15).