'It's still a huge challenge': Best Solution dodges Cup penalty

'It's still a huge challenge': Best Solution dodges Cup penalty

Best Solution has been spared the task of lumping a weight only Makybe Diva has managed to carry to Melbourne Cup glory in the last 40 years after escaping penalty for his Caulfield Cup victory.

Lenient Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter opted not to re-handicap the Godolphin raider for the $7.3 million feature next month, which he insists will still be "a huge challenge" for Best Solution carrying 57.5kg.

Penalty free: Trainer Saeed bin Suroor with Best Solution.

Penalty free: Trainer Saeed bin Suroor with Best Solution.Credit:AAP

Saeed bin Suroor's five-year-old stallion was staring down the barrell of a penalty which would have at the very least elevated him into the range of the three-time Melbourne Cup heroine Makybe Diva.

She managed to shrug off a 58kg anchor to win the last of her three cups in 2005, the only horse to shoulder more than 57kg in the last 40 years and win Australia's great race.


But Carpenter was content to leave Best Solution, who is likely to carry the No.1 saddlecloth in the Melbourne Cup, with his original mark after fighting off Homesman in a memorable Caulfield Cup struggle on Saturday.

"There's no doubt the record of horses in the Melbourne Cup high up in the weights has not been as positive as those in the Caulfield Cup," Carpenter said. "He ran as well as I thought he would in that narrow photo finish over Homesman.

"I think it's a huge challenge for Best Solution. It will be his first start beyond 2400 metres and he'll meet a new round of challenges.

I think it's a huge challenge for Best Solution

Greg Carpenter

"With 57.5 [kilograms] he'll have to run up to every bit as well as he did on Saturday and then some to try to be the first horse since Makybe Diva to win in that weight bracket."

Best Solution became the first horse since Southern Speed in 2011 to win the Caulfield Cup and not receive a Melbourne Cup penalty, but Southern Speed wasn't even entered for the two-mile classic that year.

He is still likely to carry the no.1 saddlecloth though with last year's Cox Plate runner-up Humidor, allotted 58kg, considered a doubtful starter.


No Caulfield Cup winner has managed to achieve the cups double in the same year since Ethereal in 2001 and Carpenter rated this year's race, in which 10 of the top 13 in betting are trained overseas, as "one of the strongest renewals of the Melbourne Cup in its 158-year history".

"Of the last 10 Caulfield Cup winners to contest the Melbourne Cup 17 days later, only three have been able to finish in the top 10, with Fawkner in 2013 producing the best result when sixth to Fiorente," Carpenter said.

"Best Solution came to Australia with a strongly established performance profile having won his last three runs in some of Europe’s premier 2400m Group races.

Best Solution is on the second line of betting at $10 with BetEasy for the Melbourne Cup, trailing only sizzling Herbert Power Stakes winner Yucatan ($7).

Caulfield Cup winner Homesman vaulted into 29th on the Melbourne Cup order of entry after New Zealand duo Vin De Dance and Jon Snow were officially withdrawn from the race.

Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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