The United States is now considerably closer to earning a place in the 2015 Melbourne Cup field after he was allocated a 2.5 kilogram penalty for his win in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) on Saturday.
The United States went into the Moonee Valley Gold Cup as a well-backed favourite after having no luck in running in both the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 19 and Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 2 and he was able to finish over the top of a gallant Prince Of Penzance to record the biggest win of his racing career to date.
Co-owner Nick Williams revealed after the race that The United States was unlikely to press on to the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington because he believed that he would need to win the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) this weekend to earn a start, but they may change their plans after Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter elected to grant the Galileo entire such a hefty penalty.
“The United States finished too powerfully for Prince of Penzance in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup and in doing so established a new course record for the 2500-metre journey of 2:34:43,” Carpenter said in a statement.
“He carried 1kg less than Prince of Penzance on Saturday and the 2.5kg penalty takes him to 52.5kg, 0.5kg less than that horse is handicapped with in the Emirates Melbourne Cup.”
The 2.5 kilogram penalty takes The United States to 26th in the 2015 Melbourne Cup order of entry and he will still need at least three of the horses above him in the order of entry to be removed to be assured a start of ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Owners Lloyd Williams is now a chance to have four runners in the 2015 Melbourne Cup as Herbert Power Stakes winner Amralah is now a certain starter along with the Aidan O’Brien-trained duo of Bondi Beach and Kingfisher.
Williams is chasing his fifth win in the Melbourne Cup after previously taking out the race with Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2007) and Green Moon (2012).
Victoria Derby Day is the final chance that horses outside the top 24 of the Melbourne Cup order of entry have of earning a start in the race and leading online bookmaker Ladbrokes are offering Best Tote or Starting Price +20% on every single race.