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Melbourne Cup: Dunaden receives 1kg penalty

Powerhouse stallion Dunaden has been awarded a 1kg penalty after an impressive performance at this year’s Caulfield Cup. The winner of the 2011 Melbourne Cup is still the heavy favourite to win the 2012 Melbourne Cup big race despite the penalty.

The odds seem to be stacked against the stallion however, with no horse winning the Melbourne Cup with 59kg or more since Rain Lover in 1969, who carried 60.5kg. Dunaden’s handicap is now set at 59kg since the 1kg increase. It is estimated that over 3200 meters, a 1kg penalty will slow a horse by about two lengths.

The penalty was awarded by Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter, who commented that “Dunaden again proved himself one of the most gifted 2400-metre horses in the world on Saturday, winning with 58kg in what was an outstanding performance”.

He also made comment that the manner in which Dunaden won demanded a review of the weight he will carry in this year’s Melbourne Cup.

Carpenter said "With respect to Dunaden, I have to give it a weight that reflects his excellent win but that also gives him a chance of winning the Melbourne Cup."

Dunaden’s jockey, Craig Williams, has said that the 1kg penalty is unfavourable, and may ruin the horse’s chances of winning. Williams however talked of great confidence in the staying power and raw ability of his horse.

With a 2.5kg advantage, many punters this year are backing Red Cadeaux who narrowly lost out to Dunaden in 2011 at Flemington’s Melbourne Cup. French stayer Brigantin is reported to be heavily backed to win at the big race since Dunaden’s penalty.

Dunaden is still the race favourite at $6.50, followed by former favourite Mount Athos at $8.50. Americain and Brigantin both are set at $9.00. The great rival and 2011 runner up, Red Cadeaux, is currently at $10.00. Australians looking at betting on the Melbourne Cup should check out both TAB and Luxbet, as they both run exciting promotions this time of year.

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