In-form sprinter Moment Of Change has been allocated top weight in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 8 as a result of him winning back to back Group 1s at Caulfield.
Racing Victoria (RV) senior handicapper Neil Jennings gave Moment Of Change 58kgs when he released the weights today for the famous Group 1 sprint down the Flemington straight.
The Peter Moody trained Moment Of Change scored two group 1 wins in as many starts over his favourite 1400m course at Caulfield after leading all of the way in the $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes on February 8 and the $500,000 Cathay Pacific Futurity Stakes the following week.
Those two wins added to the five year olds other Group 1 win in the 2012 $400,000 Clamms Seafood Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes also over the 1400m at Caulfield.
Moment Of Change carried 56.5kgs in last year’s Newmarket Handicap when beaten a whisker by three year old Shamexpress who had the lightweight of 51.5kgs.
“Moment Of Change was beaten by the narrowest margin in the 2013 Newmarket with 56.5kg and he has returned this campaign with back-to-back Group 1 victories,” Jennings said.
“He also ran three-time Group 1-winner Buffering to a nose when a gallant runner-up in the Winterbottom Stakes in November so he’s a worthy topweight in this year’s race rising 1.5kg.”
The Danny O’Brien trained Shamexpress goes up to 56kgs while classy mare Samaready has been allocated the same weight following her win in the Group 1 $450,000 Programmed Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in the Spring and a first up third to Snitzerland in the Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) down the Flemington straight on February 15.
“Defending champion Shamexpress boasts an excellent straight track record, having won last year’s Newmarket Handicap and running a closing second to Buffering in November’s VRC Sprint Classic (1200m), where he finished ahead of Moment of Change,” Jennings said.
“While Shamexpress rises from 51.5kg as a winning three-year-old last year to 56kg this year, he has taken the natural weight-for-age progression of 2.5kg which means he has effectively been penalised 2kg for his triumph and subsequent Group 1 placings.”
Samaready’s stablemate Lankan Rupee announced himself as the new sprinting star with an emphatic win in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield last Saturday and has been given 56.5kgs.
“Lankan Rupee is quickly becoming one of the best sprinters racing in Australia and he was visually impressive in carrying 56kg to claim his maiden Group 1 victory in Saturday’s Oakleigh Plate which necessitated an increase in the weight I had allocated for him in the Newmarket,” Jennings said.
Darley paid a late entry fee of $55,000 to have Knoydart included in the Newmarket Handicap entries and the Peter Snowden trained four year will have to carry 52.5kgs.
Knoydart has found a new lease of life since being gelded and won the Listed $120,000 IVECO Melbourne Truck Centre Hareeba Stakes (1200m) at Mornington on February 12 like a good horse before running home late to finish third to Lankan Rupee in the Oakleigh Plate.
Queensland sprinter Spirit Of Boom split Lankan Rupee and Knoydart in the Oakleigh Plate and has been given 55.5kgs by Jennings, the same weight as the Anthony Cummings trained Fontelina who is a two time winner over the Newmarket Handicap course and distance.