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Comic Court was the first association 12-time Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Bart Cummings had with the famous race.

Trained by Cummings’ father Jim, in 1950 Comic Court was also the last original topweight to win the handicap race.

That’s the task in front of Protectionist and English stayer Snow Sky if they are to win this year’s $6.2 million race on November 3 with their topweight of 58kg.

“There have been 22 original topweights contest the Melbourne Cup since Comic Court’s win in 1950 and none have placed,” Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter said.

Now trained by Kris Lees, Protectionist won the Cup last year for German trainer Andreas Wohler, carrying 56.5kg and will be striving to join Makybe Diva (2003,04,05), Think Big (1974,75), Rain Lover (1968,69), Peter Pan (1932, 34) and Archer (1861,62) as the only multiple winners of the race.

Snow Sky is the highest-rated runner having won the Hardwick Stakes during the Royal Ascot meeting in June.

Irish St Leger winner Order Of St George is one of four Aidan O’Brien horses nominated, with Carpenter rating him the equal of the topweights.

“The 54kg I have allotted him as a northern hemisphere three-year-old is the same as 58kg for an older horse with both being 1.5kg below the weight-for-age benchmark,” Carpenter said.

Stablemates, English St Leger first and third, Bondi Beach and Fields Of Athenry, have 52.5kg and 51kg respectively while Ascot Gold Cup runner-up Kingfisher has 53kg.

The ATC Australian Derby and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Criterion, is the highest-rated of the Australian-trained stayers with 57.5kg.

Three-time Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux is in quarantine in preparation for a fifth attempt at the Cup.

Red Cadeaux carried 57kg when runner-up to Protectionist last year and drops to 55kg this time, the same weight as stablemate and Ascot Gold Cup winner, Trip To Paris.

Japanese stayers, Fame Game (57kg) and Hokko Brave (55.5kg) will be attempting the one-two finish of compatriots Delta Blues and Pop Rock in 2006.

They are due to arrive in Australia on Saturday.

New Zealand and ATC Australian Derby winner Mongolian Khan is the highest-rated four-year-old with 55kg ahead of Victoria Derby winner Preferment with 53.5kg.

Last season’s ATC Australian Oaks winner Gust Of Wind and VRC Oaks winner Set Square have 51kg.

Precedence, the last runner for Cummings in the Cup before his death last month, has 52kg, and will need to win a ballot-free race to guarantee a fifth start in the race.

 
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