Steel Prince’s bid to fight his way into the Melbourne Cup looks to be bearing fruit with the tenacious stayer receiving a weight penalty to move him to the brink of nailing a Cup start.
Racing Victoria handicapper Greg Carpenter has penalised the Anthony and Sam Freedman stayer 1kg for his tough win in Wednesday’s Geelong Cup.
It takes his weight in the Melbourne Cup to 53.5kg, the same weight as King of Leogrance, and moves the gelding from 35th to 25th position in the order of entry.
Steel Prince currently sits one spot outside the Melbourne Cup field but given there is likely to be a level of attrition above him, it is extremely likely he will score a spot even though other horses can yet move above him in the Melbourne Cup order of entry.
There are two Melbourne Cup ballot exemption races remaining – Saturday’s Cox Plate and the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on 31 October.
If Steel Prince secures his Cup spot, it will be his second consecutive Melbourne Cup appearance after winning a golden ticket into the famous race last year with his victory in the Andrew Ramsden Stakes.
Steel Prince after winning the Geelong Cup. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Steel Prince finished ninth behind Vow And Declare in last year’s Cup after having an interrupted preparation.
Carpenter applied the same penalty he applied to Prince Of Arran’s 2019 Geelong Cup success and that horse finished second on protest in last year’s Melbourne Cup.
“This year was an extremely strong renewal of the Geelong Cup with four European stayers – all Group or Listed Race winners – making their Australian debut and this year’s Group 2 Adelaide Cup winner King of Leogrance also contesting the race,” Carpenter said.
“When we took into account the outstanding quality of yesterday’s field, we felt that 1kg was the appropriate penalty for Steel Prince which takes him to 53.5kg and 25th in the order of entry.
“While the margin of victory was narrow Steel Prince won with some authority in the end. He carried 0.5kg less than King of Leogrance yesterday and now moves to the same weight as him in the Melbourne Cup.
“Geelong Cup winners in the last decade have an outstanding record in the Melbourne Cup with Americain and Dunaden both going on to win the Flemington feature with 54.5kg after being penalised for the Geelong win.
“Last year Prince of Arran was also penalised 1kg to 54kg before being placed third across the line in the Melbourne Cup and then promoted to second on protest.”
TAB has shortened Steel Prince to a $21 chance to win the Melbourne Cup.
Originally published asPenalty puts Prince on brink of Cup start
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