SOUTH-WEST gallopers Moudre and Mr O’Ceirin must win feature races for trainer Ciaron Maher over the next few weeks to force their way into the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup.
Racing Victoria executive general manager for racing Greg Carpenter yesterday announced weights for the Melbourne Cup but Maher’s pair are lightly handicapped.
Moudre was given 52.5kg and Mr O’Ceirin 52 kg while 2011 Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden was given the top weight of 58.5kg.
Maher, who has stables at Caulfield and Winslow, said both his horses received weights he thought they would get for the group 1 race.
“Both horses have to win a feature race over the next few weeks to get a run,” he said.
“There are various paths we can go down to get them into the Melbourne Cup.
‘‘The first one is the Naturalism Stakes this Saturday at Caulfield.
‘‘We’ve got other races like the Metropolitan in Sydney, the Herbert Power and the Geelong Cup to name a few but the bottom line is we must win a feature.
“There are no easy ways or short cuts to get into the Melbourne Cup field.
‘‘I’m hopeful that either Moudre or Mr O’Ceirin might win the Naturalism on Saturday.
‘‘If one wins that is a big plus.
‘‘We had 25 millimetres of rain on Monday night at Caulfield.
‘‘Both horses appreciate a bit of give in the track so I reckon the rain will help our chances.”
Moudre was backed in from $201 to $81 for the Melbourne Cup with the TAB on the back off his third placing in the Makybe Diva Stakes on September 7.
Sahara Sun which is also trained by Maher was handicapped to carry 50kg.
French-bred stallion Puissance De Lune which is trained at Darren Weir’s Warrnambool stables by Mitch Freedman was given a handicap of 54.5kg by Carpenter. Puissance De Lune has been the raging favourite for the 2013 Melbourne Cup since his win in last year’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
When betting opened for this year’s Melbourne Cup — Puissance De Lune was rated an $8 chance before being backed into $5 at one stage.
One punter placed a wager of $9000 with the TAB on the stallion at 8-1.
Bookies are expected to be more generous with odds for Puissance De Lune because of the 54.5kg weight.
International galloper Dandino which is part-owned by Warrnambool couple Peter and Anne Lynch has 54.5kg in the race.