The Darren Weir trained Signoff and the Lloyd Williams owned The United States have been installed equal favourites following the release of the weights yesterday for Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1.
Ladbrokes.com.au promoted Signoff and The United States to the top of the market order at $17 after topweight Order Of St George was announced as a non-runner in this year’s Melbourne Cup after being allocated 58kg alongside of 2014 winner Protectionist.
The Aidan O’Brien trained Order Of St George, who was at the top of the market order at the time, will not be travelling to Australia to contest the Melbourne Cup and instead could head to France for the Group 1 €5m QATAR Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (2400m) at Chantilly, on October 2.
O’Brien still has six other stayers among the nominations for the Melbourne Cup including Bondi Beach who is also part owned by Williams and his family.
Bondi Beach has been weighted on 55kg while stablemates Idaho has 53kg, and Housesofparliament, Sword Fighter, The Major General and Unicorn are all weighted on 50kg.
Equal topweight Protectionist is also a doubtful starter and if that is the case last year’s winner Prince Of Panzance and the Chris Waller trained Preferment’s weight will go up from 56.5kg to 57kg.
Prince Of Penzance’s stablemate Signoff has been well beaten at his two runs from a spell over unsuitable distances with an eleventh to Rocket Commander in the Listed $100,000 Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) at Morphettville Parks on August 20 followed by a thirteenth to Awesome Rock in the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 3.
Signoff finished fourth in the 2014 Melbourne Cup with 51kg and has been given 53.5kg for this year’s contest while Weir’s Japanese import Tosen Stardom is also weighted on 53.5kg.
Weir’s other major Melbourne Cup contenders are South Australian Derby winner Howard Be Thy Name and Perth Cup winner Real Love, both weighted on 51.5kg.
The United States has been allocated 55.5kg and kicked off his Melbourne Cup campaign with a first up sixth to Awesome Rock in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
The Willie Mullins trained Wicklow Brave with Frankie Dettori in the saddle, led all of the way to beat Order Of St George last weekend in the Group 1 €300,000 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger (2816m) at the Curragh in Ireland and has been given 55kg for the Melbourne Cup.
“Frankie was very brave,” trainer Willie Mullins said.
“He’s a horse we’d been holding up all our lives. Every time we held him up and it looked like he’d win a race, he wouldn’t produce what we asked him to produce.”
Early Melbourne Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $17 The United States, Signoff, $19 Wicklow Brave, Hartnell, Big Orange, $21 Idaho, Curren Mirotic, $26 Protectionist, Erupt, Our Ivanhowe, Preferment, Tarzino, Tosen Stardom.