10/31/2008 11:00PM

Septimus the highweight for Melbourne Cup


Septimus, the defending European champion stayer, should be good enough to handle his highweight impost of 129 pounds in Tuesday's two-mile Melbourne Cup Handicap at Flemington. The $3.8 million race has attracted so many European raiders that Australian trainer Bart Cummings, an 11-time winner of "the race that stops a nation," has called for a limit to be imposed on foreign participants.

Cummings himself will be represented by Viewed, who has been unplaced in his last three starts since winning the 1 1/2-mile Group 2 Brisbane Cup in June. Last time, Viewed was 10th in the 1 1/2-mile Group 1 Caulfield Cup behind All The Good, a Godolphin runner who was ruled out of the Melbourne Cup on Friday after suffering a hairline cannon bone fracture.

With defending Aussie title holder Efficient also out of the race due to injury, European chances look good. Trained by Aidan O'Brien, Septimus prepped with a 13-length romp in the 1 3/4-mile Group 1 Irish St. Leger on Sept. 13. He will be joined by stablemate Honolulu, winner of the 2 1/4-mile Doncaster Cup, a race won last year by Septimus.

British-based Luca Cumani, second in last year's Melbourne Cup with Purple Moon, runs Mad Rush, the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay winner who was an unlucky fourth in the Caulfield Cup, and Bauer, winner of last week's Group 3 Geelong Cup.

Richard Gibson saddles the first French-trained Cup runner in Varevees, while Dermot Weld is in search of a third Cup score with Profound Beauty.

Caulfield Cup runner-up Nom de Jeu, Cox Plate second Zipping, and Turnbull Stakes winner Littorio lead the Aussie home defense.