Melbourne Cup weights: Vow And Declare gets 57kg for tilt at back-to-back Cups

Vow And Declare will need to carry another 5kg if he is to repeat his 2019 Melbourne Cup triumph on the first Tuesday of November at Flemington.

The Danny O’Brien-trained stayer carried 52kg to victory last year but received 57kg when Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper released the weights for the 160th running of the Melbourne Cup.

Carpenter said 3.5kg of Vow And Declare’s increase was a penalty for last year’s win while the fact he will compete as a five-year-old this year accounted for the rest of the extra weight.

Vow And Declare received the same weight in the Caulfield Cup.

Vow And Declare’s stablemate Russian Camelot has 53.5kg in the Melbourne Cup on the strength of his last-start win in the Group 1 South Australian Derby in May.

Carpenter said Russian Camelot’s SA Derby win rated higher than any other Derby run in Australia this season.

Danny O’Brien stablemates Russian Camelot and Vow And Declare will both target the Cups. Picture: Mark WilsonSource:News Corp Australia

He added other handicappers around the world had rated Russian Camelot’s maiden Group 1 win higher as the northern hemisphere-bred colt was six months younger than his opposition in Adelaide.

Both Russian Camelot and Vow And Declare are set to start their spring campaigns in Saturday’s Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.

Leading Melbourne Cup fancy Surprise Baby has 54.5kg for his second attempt to win the race after he finished fifth in 2019 with 53.5kg.

Carpenter said Surprise Baby’s trainer Paul Preusker had indicated the gelding would have only one more run before the Melbourne Cup after his close second in last Saturday’s Group 2 Feehan Stakes at The Valley.

South Australian Derby winner Russian Camelot is a big threat to Vow And Declare’s chances of a Melbourne Cup repeat. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

Preusker adopted the same path to the 2019 Melbourne Cup, with Surprise Baby winning the Group 3 Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington on his way to his target race.

Irish master trainer Aidan O’Brien has the topweights for both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

The 2019 Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck is the sole Melbourne Cup topweight with 58.5kg while he shares top billing for the Caulfield Cup with his stablemate Japan.

Carpenter laid down the challenge for trainers to get their lightly-weighted horses into either spring feature.

“The puzzle is set, it’s up to the trainers to get their horses into the races with the lowest weight they can,” he said.

Originally published asCup champ faces daunting task to repeat feat

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