Trainer Patrick Biancone declared a double-handed Hong Kong assault on the Melbourne Cup a near-certainty after the release of weights for November's Flemington show-stopper. International Vase winner Partipral, now back in training after going amiss following his December success, was handed 55.5 kilograms by Victorian Racing Club (VRC) handicapper James Bowler yesterday, while stablemate Deauville was allotted 52 kgs. Although not well treated in relation to the home challenge for Australasia's greatest race, Biancone felt Partipral was not hard done by when it came to the foreign entries for the 3.2 kilometre event. 'I had expected him to get about 55 kgs and thought that Deauville should have come in around 50 kgs. We are not too badly out and I never expect any leniency anyway. 'Now we have the weights we will be able to go a step further. But I would say we have a 70-30 chance of running in the Melbourne Cup,' said Biancone. And it looks like a double Hong Kong challenge or none at all. 'I would want both horses to go. I do not think it is the right way to train one horse on his own for a race like this,' stressed the French ace. Senior Hong Kong handicapper Martyn Stewart believes the VRC have done the local challengers no favours - or almost the entire overseas entry list. 'I make it that 12 of the top 18 horses in the Melbourne Cup handicap are from overseas. There are some good horses entered, but it does seem rather hard on the foreign entries. 'Partipral is receiving only a kilo from Octagonal, who was Australia's Horse of the Year and who has won at least five Group One races, whereas Partipral has never been a Group One winner. 'His major successes have been in Group Two and Group Three, with arguably his best Group One effort a midfield place in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe,' added Stewart. The local handicapper also pondered Partipral's assessment for the Melbourne Cup in the light of his defeat of Australian challenger Royal Snack in December's non-Group International Vase. 'I wondered if a line through the defeat of Royal Snack left him in this position in relation to Octagonal and some other Australian runners,' said Stewart. But VRC assessor Bowler said he had 'a healthy respect' for the two Hong Kong entries. 'Partipral enjoyed a high rating in Europe before going to Hong Kong last year, then enhanced his reputation by taking the International Vase, which boosted his winnings to more than A$1 million,' said Bowler. Partipral, a rising eight-year-old, has won 16 of his 29 starts, several in Spain, with two seconds and two thirds. Bowler said he considered the lightly-raced Deauville, with 12 starts for four wins and six seconds, a very interesting entry. 'Deauville is obviously a very fast, genuine stayer who is improving. He is typical of the type of horse which generally runs well in the Melbourne Cup, and it is also in his favour that he is a five-year-old, because horses in that age group are traditionally very competitive in the race,' said Bowler. At this stage, Biancone plans a start for Partipral in the Group One weight-for-age Melbourne Cup opening event, the LKS McKinnon Stakes over 2,000 metres on the Saturday before the big race, while Deauville is pencilled in for the Group Two Crown Quality Stakes over 2,500 metres, also at Flemington on November 2. Hong Kong Queen Elizabeth II Cup winner Overbury has been allotted 56 kgs for the Cup, and is considered a serious contender. The weights are headed by the former Ivan Allan-owned Classic Cliche, runner-up to Pentire in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot in July, with 61.5 kgs, while last year's winner, the Damien Oliver-ridden Doriemus, is on 56 kgs, along with the 1993 hero, the Mick Kinane-ridden Vintage Crop.