Best Solution escapes penalty for Cup bid

GODOLPHIN star Best Solution has escaped a re-handicap for his Caulfield Cup win but will still need to set a weight-carrying record for a foreign raider to win the Melbourne Cup.

Best Solution will remain on his original weight of 57.5kg in the Flemington classic as he attempts to become the 12th horse to win the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup double in the same year.

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But since the northern hemisphere-trained stayers began targeting the Melbourne Cup 25 years ago, none have won with more than the 56½kg Germany’s Protectionist shouldered in 2014.

In fact, since Think Big won his second Melbourne Cup in 1975 under 58½kg, no winner of the Flemington two-miler has carried more than 57kg, with the exception of the great Makybe Diva when she completed her historic Cup three-peat with 58kg in 2005.

In reaching his decision, Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter said over the last 40 years, 63 horses have contested the Melbourne Cup carrying 57kg or more, with only Makybe Diva (58kg) able to win.

“Given the depth of quality in this year’s race and the fact that every additional 0.5kg of weight represents approximately one length over 3200m, I have elected not to increase Best Solution’s allocated weight of 57.5kg,” he said.

“Of the last 10 Caulfield Cup winners to contest the Melbourne Cup 17 days later, only three have been able to finish in the top 10, with Fawkner in 2013 producing the best result when sixth to Fiorente.

“Best Solution came to Australia with a strongly established performance profile having won his last three runs in some of Europe’s premier 2400m Group races.

“He was all out in the finish on Saturday holding off Homesman and he now faces an enormous challenge in the Melbourne Cup, going to a track and distance he has not encountered before in one of the strongest renewals of the Melbourne Cup in its 158-year history.”

Best Solution firming into $9 second Melbourne Cup favouritism behind Yucatan ($7) after his tough win on Saturday.

Godolphin trainer Saeed Bin Suroor with Best Solution and the Caulfield Cup trophy.Source:AAP

The Melbourne Cup now appears at the mercy of the internationals this spring with 10 of the top 12 in betting trained in the northern hemisphere.

It is expected more than half the Cup field will be made up of overseas stayers.

This prompts renewed debate about whether there is too many internationals in the Melbourne Cup.

An owner, who preferred anonymity, said the Melbourne spring carnival has become a “benefit for overseas horses and a real slap in the face” for all owners who support Australian racing week in, week out.

He argued there will be less incentive to breed staying horses in this country when there is an increasing number of overseas-trained stayers in Melbourne every spring.

The late, great Bart Cummings often called for a cap on international runners in the Melbourne Cup although few supported his view at the time.

But when it came to discussing racing issues, the “Cups King” was invariably right.

Jockey Pat Cosgrove and Best Solution (right) edge out Homesman to win the Caulfield Cup.Source:AAP

Originally published as Best Solution escapes penalty for Cup bid


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