Leading owner-breeder Bob Peters was last night mystified by Battle Emblem's exclusion from the field for Tuesday's Golden River Developments Perth Cup (2400m).
Battle Emblem was ranked at 15th on the provisional order of entry for the $500,000 feature following Monday's declaration of weights.
Yesterday the nine-year-old was made the third emergency behind Talent Show and Big Josh when the final field was declared at noon.
Owner Ted Hill's decision yesterday to pay a $10,000 late entry fee to have Westriver Kevydonn included in the Group 2 field pushed Battle Emblem down one position.
Peters questioned how Battle Emblem, with a 93 rating, could be upstaged by Big Josh (78) and Talent Show (74).
Peters accepted with six runners, with Ranger (55.5kg), 2010 Perth Cup winner Lords Ransom (55kg), Dreamaway (53kg) and Moonlight Bay (53kg) gaining starts.
Battle Emblem and Galaxy Prince were balloted.
Battle Emblem finished last behind Talent Show (4th) and Big Josh (5th) in last Saturday's Cox Stakes (2100m).
"I can't recall this ever happening before," Peters said.
"Battle Emblem was ridden upside down last start otherwise he would have finished differently.
"He has been trained for the cup.
"It appears to me the horse has been balloted on one run when he was ridden by an apprentice who had never ridden him before.
"It is not like Big Josh or Talent Show had been backed in pre-post betting. Galaxy Prince was up much higher in the betting and I think most would agree he is more promising but he did not get promoted."
Chief handicapper David Hunter, who has the power to promote or demote acceptors after final declarations, said his decision was made on current form.
"Battle Emblem has been below par," Hunter said.
"If you look at the current form of Big Josh and Talent Show, they deserve to be pushed up.
"They finished well ahead of Battle Emblem at weight-for-age in the Cox Stakes. Both Talent Show and Big Josh have run to a much higher rating than their 74 and 78 respectively but are not penalised in finishing fourth and fifth in the Cox.
"It is certainly not uncommon for me to use discretionary powers in this situation."
Jockey William Pike yesterday chose to ride Ranger with Perth Cup-winning hoop Peter Hall back on Lords Ransom.
Trainer Justin Warwick has stuck with apprentice Mitchell Pateman on Global Flirt.