Japanese horse Admire Rakti will run in the Melbourne Cup and attempt a feat which has not been achieved for almost 40 years.
The Caulfield Cup winner has been given a half kilogram penalty for the Melbourne Cup, taking him to 58.5kg for the $6 million race at Flemington on November 4.
Think Big, in 1975, is the only horse to carry that weight to victory since the introduction of the metric system in 1972.
Owner Riichi Kondo had cast doubt over whether Admire Rakti would start if he received a penalty but representatives of the owner have since confirmed the horse will run.
Racing Victoria’s international talent scout Leigh Jordon said trainer Tomoyuki Umeda had also been keen for Admire Rakti to start.
“He has already created history as the first Japanese winner of the Caulfield Cup and we’re pleased that he’ll be given the opportunity to become the first international to complete the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double,” Jordon said.
Admire Rakti has remained the $4 favourite to join 2006 winner Delta Blues as a Japanese winner of Australia’s most famous race.
The seven-year-old settled midfield and was wide into the straight under 58kg in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup but charged home to chase down New Zealand mare Rising Romance.
Chief handicapper Greg Carpenter said the strength of the win demanded a penalty.
“I had to strike a balance between the terms on which those that finished behind him at Caulfield would meet him next start and the new wave of rivals that awaits him at Flemington,” Carpenter said.
“Internationals Red Cadeaux, Cavalryman, Willing Foe, Protectionist, Mutual Regard and Royal Diamond, and potentially Cox Plate runners like Fawkner and Silent Achiever, present a new challenge for Admire Rakti and this had to be considered when determining the penalty.”
Since Think Big there have been 19 horses carry more than 58kg in the Melbourne Cup (3200m) with Kingston Town and Vintage Crop the only two to be placed.
Champion mare Makybe Diva won third Cup with 58kg in 2005.
The last horse to complete the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double was Ethereal in 2001.
Fellow Japanese galloper Bande was ruled out of the Caulfield Cup on race eve because of a tendon problem and has been officially scratched from the Melbourne Cup.