Sir Lucan (@IREThoroughbred Twitter)
The chances of Northern Hemisphere three-year-old Sir Lucan gaining a start in this year's Lexus Melbourne Cup appear slim, but connections will still make the trip to Victoria.
Racing Victoria's chief handicapper Greg Carpenter allocated Sir Lucan 50kg for the Lexus Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, 8.5kg below his weight-for-age mark, which appeared to extinguish any realistic hope of making the Cup field of 24.
Sir Lucan finished eighth of 10 starters in the £700,000 G1 Cazoo St Leger (2921m) on Saturday, beaten 14 lengths by Hurricane Lane.
Connections believe Sir Lucan didn't handle the soft track conditions on the fourth and final day of Doncaster's St Leger Festival, which was described by some jockeys as 'sticky'.
"Sir Lucan's weight on the minimum, with 50kg, has been impacted by the fact he could only finish eighth in the English St Leger," Carpenter said upon releasing his handicap on Tuesday.
Sir Lucan's managing part-owner Ozzie Kheir told Racing.com the plan is still to come to Melbourne via Werribee's International Horse Centre on the second shipment, arriving on October 12 before exiting quarantine on October 26 into the care of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.
"Whilst he's well outside the field now, 49th in the order of entry, I would say he is still a chance of getting a run in the Lexus Melbourne Cup," Kheir said.
"The next two weeks will start to paint a clearer picture and there is always a lot of attrition closer to the race."
What makes qualification for the Lexus Melbourne Cup so difficult for Sir Lucan is the younger brother of Sir Dragonet cannot race again before the Cup.
New Lexus Melbourne Cup regulations introduced this year prevent foreign horses racing on the quick back-up from Derby Day into the Lexus Melbourne Cup.
Consequently, Kheir suggested that should Sir Lucan not gain a Lexus Melbourne Cup berth by attrition, he may instead contest another event during Melbourne Cup Week, such as the G3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) on Stakes Day.
"He was purchased really as a stayer for the future and his price (when bought from Coolmore) didn't really reflect a qualified Lexus Melbourne Cup horse, so there's no rush," Kheir said.
"But if we happen to sneak into the field at 50kg this year then we will take that chance for sure and he will be right in the race."
Meanwhile, Australian Bloodstock has confirmed that Rodrigo Diaz, whom they own jointly with Quantum Leap Racing, will not travel to Australia for this year's Lexus Melbourne Cup after being handicapped with 51kg, placing him 53rd on the order of entry.
Rodrigo Diaz stalked Stradivarius throughout in last Friday's G2 Doncaster Cup (3600m) but offered little over the concluding stages, finishing 9.75 lengths behind Europe's champion stayer.
Australian Bloodstock won last year's G3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) on Derby Day with Ashrun, which qualified him for the Lexus Melbourne Cup, in which he finished 10th in Flemington's showpiece event a few days later.