Michael Rodd’s hopes of riding December Draw in the Caulfield Cup have received a boost with the gelding penalised two kilograms for winning the Naturalism Stakes.
The Mark Kavanagh-trained import was also penalised 1.5kg for the Melbourne Cup and will now carry 52kg in both feature races.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Americain now holds the key to Rodd being able to ride the favourite in the Caulfield Cup.
Weights would be raised two kilograms to a required minimum 57kg should current topweight Americain (58kg) not line up in the Caulfield Cup bringing December Draw up to 54kg and within Rodd’s weight range.
The Lloyd Williams-owned Midas Touch is currently second topweight with 55kg.
Winning Saturday’s Group Three Naturalism exempts December Draw from the ballot for the Caulfield Cup but he has yet to pass the Melbourne Cup’s first ballot clause without a peak performance at 2300 metres of further.
Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter noted December Draw had twice won in “impressive fashion” since the release of Caulfield Cup weights on August 31.
“In the first he comfortably defeated subsequent Newcastle Cup winner Green Moon and he was again dominant on Saturday in the Naturalism Stakes,” Carpenter said.
“As a result of the penalties he now meets At First Sight, who finished second in the Naturalism, and last year’s Caulfield Cup runner-up Harris Tweed, who was unplaced in Saturday’s race, 1.5kg worse in both Cups.”
New Zealand star Lion Tamer is also exempt from the Caulfield Cup ballot after winning Saturday’s Group One Underwood Stakes (1800m) and cannot be penalised as it was a weight-for-age race.
At First Sight, also owned by Williams, has passed the ballot for the Caulfield Cup and has been promoted to equal 33rd in the order of entry.
His stablemate Green Moon has been penalised half a kilo to 50.5kg in both Cups after his fighting win in the Group Three Newcastle Cup (2300m) last Thursday.
“This is the first time since 1998 that we have penalised the winner of the Newcastle Cup which emphasises the merit of Green Moon’s victory,” Carpenter said.
“It was a courageous performance and followed his second placing to Caulfield Cup favourite December Draw at his previous start at Flemington.”
Green Moon has now passed the ballot for both Cups but he will need to win a ballot exemption race to secure a start in the Caulfield Cup as he sits at equal 55th in the order of entry.
Carpenter also penalised international entrant Fox Hunt half a kilo for the Melbourne Cup after his important victory in the Group Three German St Leger (2800m) at Dortmund.
A stablemate of Irish St Leger winner and fellow Melbourne Cup entrant Jukebox Jury, Fox Hunt now has 53.5kg in the Melbourne Cup alongside horses such as Precedence, Linton, Red Cadeaux and Lucas Cranach.
Second declarations for the Caulfield Cup and W S Cox Plate close at 12 noon (AEST) on Tuesday.