CUP CHANCE: Craig Williams rides Precedence to victory in the Drake International Cup on Cox Plate day.
CUP CHANCE: Craig Williams rides Precedence to victory in the Drake International Cup on Cox Plate day. HAMISH BLAIRAAP

Bart Cummings a step closer to having Melbourne Cup entrant

LEGENDARY trainer Bart Cummings moved a step closer to having a runner in next Tuesday's Melbourne Cup after his evergreen galloper Precedence was penalised 1kg for winning the Drake International Cup (2500m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

The penalty, announced yesterday by Racing Victoria handicapper Greg Carpenter, lifted the eight-year-old's weight to 53kg, elevating him to 29th in the Order of Entry for the big race.

With 24 runners set to face the starter, Precedence is still not guaranteed a start.

He will need to rely on other runners dropping out, or winning either the Mackinnon Stakes or Lexus Stakes at Flemington on Saturday to take his place in the field.

"The penalty takes Precedence back to the same weight he carried when running ninth to Green Moon in last year's Melbourne Cup," Carpenter said.

"Since then he has won the Group 3 Premiers Cup during the Brisbane Winter Carnival and was simply too good for his rivals in the Group 2 Drake International Cup at Moonee Valley. The penalty is the same given to Vatuvei for winning the 2012 renewal at Moonee Valley."

Precedence, the stable's only entry in this year's Melbourne Cup, has contested the past three editions, finishing eighth (2010, 53.5kg), 11th (2011, 53.5kg) and ninth (2012, 53kg).

Cummings, 85, has trained the winner of the Cup a record 12 times, the latest being Viewed in 2008. He embarked on a training partnership with his grandson James, 25, at the start of this season on August 1.



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