EFFICIENT and Maldivian head the weights for the 2009 Emirates Melbourne Cup, which were released yesterday.
The 2007 cup winner Efficient and current Cox Plate champion Maldivian will have to carry 58kg (9st 2lb) to victory, and both horses have also been given the same weight in the Cox Plate.
Since Vintage Crop became the first European trained victor in 1993, the only other Australian-trained horse to head the weights was Northerly in 2004.
Next on the list is last year’s winner, the Bart Cummings-trained Viewed on 57kg (9st), 4kg more than he carried to victory.
Viewed looks to join Archer (1861-2), Rain Lover (1968-9), Think Big (1974-5) and Makybe Diva (2004-05) as the only horses to win the race in successive years.
Godolphin’s Sheema Classic winner Eastern Anthem and Goodwood Cup winner Schiaparelli are the highest-weighted European horses on 57kg.
Aidan O’Brien’s unlucky Ebor runner-up Changingoftheguard has been allocated 50.5kg (7st 13lb) and Age Of Aquarius 51kg (8st 1/2lb).
Dermot Weld’s Profound Beauty, fifth last year under 51.5kg, has been given 53.5kg (8st 6lb).
Racing Victoria Limited Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter said: “The 4kg increase given to Viewed is the same penalty applied to previous winners such as Media Puzzle, Kingston Rule, Black Knight and Gold And Black in the modern era.
“It is slightly less than the penalty given to Makybe Diva after her initial success and a similar penalty to that issued to Think Big when taking into account the weight-for-age component.
“The 2kg increase for Profound Beauty reflects the progression she has demonstrated in Ireland this year being undefeated in her three starts.
“It is the same weight Empire Rose carried to victory in 1988 and the only mare to win the Melbourne Cup with more is Makybe Diva,” he said on www.racingvictoria.net.au.
Luca Cumani, so narrowly denied with Purple Moon and Bauer in recent years, has Cima De Triomphe (55.5kg) and Balsatico (51.5kg) entered.
Other notable British possibles include Askar Tau (53.5kg), Munsef (53kg) and Mourilyan (54.5kg)
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