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Posted 2023-09-19 11:02:30  
Weights announced for Melbourne Cup

Racing Victoria (RV) have officially revealed the much-anticipated weights for 133 horses who remain in the running for this year’s Group 1 $8.4 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m).

RV’s Head of Handicapping David Hegan assigned 2022 Lexus Melbourne Cup champion Gold Trip the top weight of 58.5kg. The last horse to successfully carry 58.5kg to victory was Think Big in 1975. After an eye-catching return at Moonee Valley in the Feehan Stakes, the 7-year-old has to defy history to become just the sixth horse to win consecutive Lexus Melbourne Cups.

Trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace hold sixteen other nominations in this year’s race, including last year's third place-getter High Emocean who was assigned 50kg.

The 16 international horses still in the running for this year’s Cup were allocated weights based on Hegan’s assessment of their overseas performances.

Current Lexus Melbourne Cup favourite Vauban will carry 55kg for Irish trainer Willie Mullins with his stable mate Absurde (53kg) guaranteed a spot in the race after winning the Ebor Handicap at York.

Desert Hero for English trainer William Haggas and owned by Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla will carry 51.5kg and is 20th in the order of entry for this year’s Cup. When assessing the handicap, Hegan was complimentary of the horse's third placing in the St Leger Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday.

Just Fine, who was formerly owned by King Charles III and is now in the care of Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Gai Waterhouse AO, was assigned 52.5kg off the back of a two-length win in the Kingstown Town Stakes and will need to pass the ballot to gain a start. The European import joins golden ticket winner Goldman (52kg) and seven other horses nominated for Waterhouse and her co-trainer Adrian Bott.

Fellow golden ticket winner Lunar Flare has also been assured of her spot in the ‘race that stops a nation’™ for trainer Grahame Begg after winning the Lexus Andrew Ramsden and has been allotted 51.5kg.

Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Chris Waller holds 14 nominations in this year’s Cup headlined by Soulcombe (53.5kg) and Francesco Guardi (54kg).

VRC Executive General Manager Racing Leigh Jordon said the weights announcement is another important date on the Road to the Cup.

“The announcement of the weights for the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup is always a pivotal date for connections who are plotting a path towards the first Tuesday in November which is only 49 days away,” Mr Jordon said.

“Gold Trip was impressive in winning the Lexus Melbourne Cup last year carrying 57.5kg and he will be required to be at his best again to go back-to-back carrying 58.5kg.

“Nominations for this year’s Cup remain strong when compared to the same time last year with a healthy representation of genuine international connections looking to travel to Melbourne.

“Win and you’re in races become important targets for horses hoping to secure their spot, the next chance for horses to gain ballot exemption is through the Group 3 Lexus Bart Cummings on TAB Turnbull Stakes Day at Flemington.”

The other opportunity for horses and connections to receive ballot exemption at Flemington is the Group 3 Lexus Archer Stakes (2500m) on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day. Outside of Flemington, the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) offer ballot exemption.

The 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival will carry more than $30 million in prizemoney across four days of sensational racing. It begins on Saturday 4 November with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day, followed by Lexus Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 7 November, Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 9 November, and concludes with TAB Champions Stakes Day on Saturday 11 November.  

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