Without A Fight handed Cup penalty
Without A Fight is likely to claim No. 2 saddlecloth in the Melbourne Cup after being penalized one kilogram following his Caulfield Cup triumph.
The Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained stayer will now carry 56.5kgs – with only Gold Trip (58.5kgs) to carry more – in the $8.4 million Melbourne Cup where he will attempt to become just the 12th horse to complete the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup double.
Racing Victoria’s head of handicapping David Hegan explained the one kilogram penalty was the same allocated to 2019 winner Mer De Glace before the Japanese-trained galloper finished sixth at Flemington.
“Without A Fight was most impressive on Saturday,” Hegan said.
“Under the genuinely testing speed of the race, producing a fast winning time of 2.26.45, he was simply too strong for his rivals in the finish and won coming away.
“No horse hit the line any better than Without A Fight, so the performance warrants a 1kg penalty.
The 2kg differential between him and Caulfield Cup placegetter Gold Trip now puts them on the same terms as in last year’s Melbourne Cup, when Without A Fight carried 55.5kg in finishing 13th behind Gold Trip, who won with 57.5kg on his back.
“Without A Fight went to another level with his win, so a penalty was required but it also takes into account the fact that the Melbourne Cup presents a different challenge altogether given the opposition – both local and international – and the extra staying test of 3200m.”
Without A Fight will aim to become the 12th horse to seal the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double, with Ethereal the last horse to achieve the feat in 2001.
If Without A Fight was to win the Melbourne Cup, it would represent the most weight carried to victory by a cups double winner since Galilee carried 56.7kg (or 8 stone 13 ounces) in 1966.
Third acceptances for November 7’s Melbourne Cup will be taken next Monday at 10am.