Septimus escapes Melbourne Cup penalty
Septimus winning the Doncaster Cup under Johnny MurtaghPICTURE: Martin Lynch
AIDAN O'BRIEN wanted to know how big a penalty Septimus would be handed for his Irish St Leger success before committing the Melbourne Cup favourite to the Flemington showpiece, andhe received the best possible news on Monday - no penalty whatsoever.
In a major boost to the star stayer's Australian prospects, Racing Victoria's chief handicapper Greg Carpenter on Monday decided that likely top weight Septimus would remain on his original assessment of 58.5kg after determining that the Curragh form was too weak to merit a hike in the horse's burden.
However, Septimus's stablemate Honolulu has had his Melbourne Cup weight increased by 1kg to 54.5kg following his decisive victoryin the Doncaster Cup.
The two horses are set to be joined by Alessandro Volta in a three-pronged Ballydoyle attack on the Emirates-sponsored November 4 spectacular.
Explaining his decision, Carpenter - who has at his discretion to hand out penalties - said: "While Septimus was visually very impressive on Saturday in winning by 13 lengths, given the level of opposition the performance does not warrant a penalty for the Emirates Melbourne Cup.
"The runner-up, New Zealand, had won a maiden at Killarney at his previous run after being soundly beaten in maiden company at his two previous starts this season. The third placegetter Red Moloney was beaten 13 lengths in a Listed Race at his previous outing and is yet to win a race at Group level."
Of Honolulu, Carpenter added: "Honolulu was a dominant winner of the Doncaster Cup, one of England's feature staying races, and his new weight of 54.5kg recognises he has continued to improve from his three-year-old form of 2007."
Septimus isas short as 6-1 for the Melbourne Cup, while last year's winner Efficient is as big as 8-1.