French galloper Dunaden will have to carry the highest weight to victory in the Melbourne Cup in 43 years after being hit with a 1kg penalty by Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter, following his win in Saturday's Caulfield Cup.
The reigning Melbourne Cup winner will now carry 59kg in the race that stops a nation this year, with the last winner to carry such a weight being Rain Lover with 60.5kg in the second of his back-to-back Cups wins in 1969.
Dunaden carried 54.5kg to victory in last year's Melbourne Cup but was allocated 58kg - the equal top weight with 2010 Melbourne Cup winner and fellow French galloper Americain - this year.
But after winning the Caulfield Cup with 58kg, Dunaden will now carry 1kg more than Americain, who ran a fast-finishing fourth behind Dunaden on Saturday.
However many will argue that even with 59kg, Dunaden has got off lightly in the Melbourne Cup considering his dominant last-to-first win in the Caulfield Cup when he not only carried equal top weight of 58kg but also came from the outside barrier.
The last horse to win the Caulfield Cup with 58kg was the great Western Australian horse Northerly in 2002 and he was then penalised 2kg for the Melbourne Cup and given 60kg but did not run in the race.
Dunaden is aiming to become the 12th horse to complete the famous Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double this year - and the most recent since Ethereal in 2001.
Dunaden will also have to carry 1kg more to victory in this year's Melbourne Cup than the immortal Makybe Diva did in the last of her record three Cup wins in 2005.
However Dunaden's weight is far from the record weight carried to victory in the Melbourne Cup, which was 65.5kg by the legendary Carbine in 1890 in a field of 39 runners while the great Phar Lap carried 62.5kg to victory in 1930 and an incredible 68kg when unplaced in the 1931 Melbourne Cup.
But in the last 40 years, only 16 horses have carried 59kg or more in the Melbourne Cup and all have failed to win with that list including such champions as Gunsynd, Kingston Town, Better Loosen Up, Super Impose and international greats Vintage Crop, Vinnie Roe and Yeats.
Carpenter said he believed the 1kg penalty for Dunaden was appropriate.
"Dunaden again proved himself one of the most gifted 2400-metre horses in the world on Saturday winning the BMW Caulfield Cup with 58kg in what was an outstanding performance," Carpenter said when announcing the penalty on Monday.
"Given the quality of field he beat and the manner in which he won the race the victory demanded a review of his Emirates Melbourne Cup handicap and I have penalised him 1kg thus rising to 59kg.
"I am aware however that a new challenge awaits him in the Melbourne Cup with horses of the calibre of Mount Athos (54kg), Galileo's Choice (53.5kg), Green Moon (53.5kg), Mourayan (53.5kg), Tac De Boistron (53.5kg) and Brigantin (53kg) all having elected not to run at Caulfield.
"His arch rival Red Cadeaux comes into the race with 55.5kg and Dunaden, with his 59kg, now meets that horse 2.5kg worse than he did in their epic finish to last year's race."Carpenter said only Rising Fast in 1955 had carried a weight rivalling Dunaden's 59kg in completing the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double while adding that two of the recent horses to do the Cups double in Might and Power (1997) and Gurner's Lane (1982) both carried 56kg to victory in the Melbourne Cup.
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