Without A Fight issued 2023 Melbourne Cup penalty

Without A Fight has been issued a 1kg penalty for his Caulfield Cup win with the Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained gelding to now carry 56.5kg in the Melbourne Cup.

Racing Victoria’s head of handicapping David Hegan announced the penalty on Monday afternoon, two days after his win under 55.5kg in the 2400-metre Group 1 handicap at Caulfield.

It is the same penalty given to Mer De Glace after his win under 55kg in 2019 with Viewed (2009), Dunaden (2012), Mongolian Khan (2015) and Boom Time (2017) others to have been given 1kg in recent years.

Central to Hegan’s decision was that last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip finished third under 58.5kg, beaten 2-1/4 lengths, in Saturday’s race and Without A Fight will now meet that galloper on level terms to last year’s Melbourne Cup when Gold Trip comfortably had Without A Fight’s measure.

“No horse hit the line any better than Without A Fight, so the performance warrants a 1kg penalty,” Hegan said of the Caulfield Cup.

“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.”

No Caulfield Cup winner has carried the equivalent of what Without A Fight will now carry in the Melbourne Cup since Galilee lumped 8 stone 13 ounces – or 56.7kg – to victory in 1966.

Gold Trip will be the only horse in the Melbourne Cup with more weight than Without A Fight, who now sits alongside Mike Moroney-trained import Alenquer on 56.5kg.

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