Oder of St George in action.
Oder of St George in action.

Irish star gets top weight for Melbourne Cup

IRISH star Order Of St George has been given top weight of 58kg for November's Melbourne Cup, leaving trainer Aidan O'Brien and owner Lloyd Williams to ponder taking up the challenge to win Australia's greatest handicap.

O'Brien and Williams were set to decide on Monday whether Order Of St George travels to Australia or remains in Europe for another tilt at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Almandin, last year's winner with 52kg, has risen to 56.5kg this year as Williams chases a record sixth cup.

Order Of St George scored a nine-length win in the Irish St Leger last weekend.

Godolphin's Hartnell is second in the Melbourne Cup handicaps behind Order Of St George with 57.5kg. Almandin (56.5), Admire Deus and Humidor (56kg) and Albert (55.5) are next.

Hartnell heads the Caulfield Cup weights with 58kg, with Almandin (56.5kg), Admire Deus, Humidor (56kg), Gailo Chop and Sense Of Occasion (55.5kg) next.

Betting on the two major spring Cups is likely to be impacted significantly by O'Brien and Williams's decision on Order Of St George's future.

Since being allocated joint topweight of 58kg last year, Order Of St George has scored a gaping nine-length second Irish St Leger win, ran second in the Ascot Gold Cup and third in a Prix de l'Arc Triomphe.

Only two horses in the past 32 years have shouldered 58kg or more.

Makybe Diva lumped a record, for a mare, 58kg in 2005 - her third successive triumph in the race. Think Big carried 58.5kg in 1975.

Racing Victoria's Greg Carpenter addressed the issue of Caulfield Cup penalty, by revealing horses already weighted at 56kg will not be rehandicapped for the Melbourne Cup.

There is still the capacity for rehandicapping a "progressive Caulfield Cup winner" but only to a maximum of 56kg for Flemington.

He said a study of the past 40 years illustrated the difficulty of annexing both Cups.