Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter has spared last Saturday’s Naturalism Stakes winner Gris Caro any penalty for the Group 1 $2.5m Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 18.
French import Gris Caro gained automatic entry into the Caulfield Cup with his win in the Group 3 $150,000 Jack London Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield last Saturday and trainer Jake Stephens has the luxury of competing in the rich 2400m Handicap with the minimum weight.
Gris Caro was orignally handicapped with 50kgs, but will end up carrying 52kgs when all the weights are raised 2kgs because of the stipulation that the topweight must carry 58kgs.
With Mukhadram, 58kgs and Dan Excel, 57kgs, not to run, all the weights will have to be raised with last year’s winner Fawkner and Japanese stayer Admire Rakti to be allocated the top weight of 58kgs.
Gris Caro raced on the pace and was able to hold out the Team Hawkes trained Entirely Platinum by a short head to win the Naturalism Stakes but Carpenter didn’t think the performance warranted a penalty.
“It was a competitive renewal of the Naturalism Stakes again this year but with Gris Caro winning on the limit weight it was difficult to get him any higher in the handicap for the Caulfield Cup,” Carpenter said.
“He beat Entirely Platinum by a short head with 2.5kg less in Saturday’s Naturalism Stakes and has 1.5kg less in the Caulfield Cup, representing a 1kg turnaround for Saturday’s narrow margin.”
Stephens expects Gris Caro to improve on his Naturalism Stakes and will figure out a final lead up for the grey import heading towards the Caulfield Cup.
“I only rated him about ninety-five per cent for this one. We will have to have a look, only one race at a time. We will decide,” Stephens said after his win last Saturday.
Gris Caro is now a $26 chance for the Caulfield Cup with Ladbrokes’com.au who have Lucia Valentina at the top of the market order at $11, just ahead of Japanese galloper Bande at $13 and the unlucky Spillway at $15 with the Gai Waterhouse trained The Offer.
Carpenter wasn’t so kind towards Gris Caro for the Melbourne Cup and the grey import has been re-handicapped at 52kgs after being penalised 1.5kgs, but the import still has a lot of work to do to pass the first clause of the ballot for the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 4.
“The increase to 52kg means that Gris Caro has 6kg less than topweight Admire Raktiand 1.5kg less than Entirely Platinum in the Emirates Melbourne Cup which is the same scenario that confronts him in the Caulfield Cup given the different weight structure between the two races,” Carpenter said.
Gris Caro is marked as $51 chance for the Melbourne Cup.