Durston re-handicapped for Lexus Melbourne Cup

17 October 2022 Written by VRC

Racing Victoria (RV) Head of Handicapping, David Hegan, has today issued a 2kg penalty in the $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) to Saturday’s Carlton Draught Caulfield Cup (2400m) winner Durston

The penalty sees the Chris Waller-trained import rise from 51.5kg to 53.5kg for Australia’s most famous race to be run on Tuesday, 1 November at Flemington.

Durston will be striving to become just the 12th horse to win the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double with the mare Ethereal the last to do so 21 years ago when she carried 52kg to victory in the 2001 Melbourne Cup.

The 2kg penalty handed to Durston is the same afforded to Ethereal when she completed the Cups double, along with subsequent Caulfield Cup winners Railings (2005), Tawqeet (2006) and All The Good (2008).

Hegan said: “The 2kg penalty for Durston gives consideration to his weight in the Melbourne Cup relative to his beaten rivals in the Caulfield Cup, together with his overall form profile which now includes three black type wins at his last four starts.

“Saturday’s margin of a short neck is not indicative of the impressive manner of Durston’s victory, his ability to overcome trouble and put himself into a position to win and again show impressive acceleration like he did in the Newcastle Cup.

“Whilst the 2kg penalty is greater than that handed to recent Caulfield Cup winners, it is important to note that each of them was higher in the weight scale at the time of their victory and that Durston still remains 6kg below the weight-for-age benchmark.

“With 51.5kg Durston was the lowest weighted winner of the Caulfield Cup since Master O’Reilly carried 50.5kg to victory in 2007. That horse was subsequently penalised 3kg rising to 53.5kg in the Melbourne Cup where he finished eighth.”

Placed in 10 of his 16 starts for six wins, Durston now sits alongside stablemate and Sydney Cup runner-up Sheraz, Epsom Derby runner-up Hoo Ya Mal (Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott), and the Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace pair Le Don De Vie and Persan on 53.5kg in the Melbourne Cup.

Durston’s victory in the $5 million Caulfield Cup has seen the horse move to the top of the Melbourne Cup Order of Entry with the race offering the winner a ballot exemption.

The other horses to rocket up the Order of Entry across the weekend were 2019 Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare and Numerian (Annabel Neasham) whose top eight placings in the Caulfield Cup saw them pass the first elimination clause.

Vow And Declare moves from 40th to 17th to guarantee him a third Melbourne Cup start, while Numerian, this year’s Q22 winner, jumps from 38th to 12th. As a result, beaten Caulfield Cup favourite Smokin’ Romans has been shuffled back from 26th to 29th – five places outside the field at this time.

There are two more ballot exemption races to come for the Melbourne Cup, being the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley this Saturday, 22 October; and the Group 3 Lexus Archer Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on 29 October.

Fourth acceptances for the Melbourne Cup will be taken at 10am (AEDT) next Monday, 24 October.

Click to view the updated Melbourne Cup Order of Entry.