Here's your ultimate guide to the 2021 Melbourne Cup at Flemington

Publish Date
Tuesday, 2 November 2021, 11:09AM

The Melbourne Cup sweep is a much-loved ritual both in New Zealand and across the ditch.

This year, naturally, is a bit different, with many working from home.

But that shouldn't stop you from organising the office sweepstake for this afternoon's running of the Melbourne Cup.

Click HERE for a Melbourne Cup 2021 virtual sweep generator.

Melbourne Cup Day

The Melbourne Cup race is set to kickoff at 5pm, with Incentivise rated as the favourite.

Date: Tuesday, November 2

First race: Darley Maribyrnong Plate, 12.45pm

Feature race: Lexus Melbourne Cup, 3200m, 5pm

Last race: MSS Security Sprint, 7.15pm

The Contenders

1) Twilight Payment (Ire) 58kg
Jockey: Jye McNeil
Trainer: Joseph O'Brien
Barrier: 2
9-Year-Old Gelding
Breeding: Teofilo (Ire) - Dream On Buddy (Ire)
Form: 1131×33912
Verdict: Last year's winner is now a 9-year-old and was the oldest horse in over 80 years to win when he caught out the field with a bold front-running display. One of the few internationals to return this year after a second in the Irish St Leger, this Irish horse is capable of creating history.
Odds: $13 (win) $4 (place)

2) Incentivise 57kg
Jockey: Brett Prebble
Trainer: Peter G Moody
Barrier: 16
5-Year-Old Gelding
Breeding: Shamus Award (Aus) - Miss Argyle
Form: 8111111×1
Verdict: In phenomenal form, Incentivise will be the shortest-priced favourite in the Cup since the legendary Phar Lap. Remarkably still a maiden in May, he won nine in a row before a magnificent win in the Caulfield Cup (2400m). That win suggests his first run over 3200m will be no problem.
Odds: $2.70 (win) $1.40 (place)

3) Spanish Mission (USA) 57kg
Jockey: Craig Williams
Trainer: Andrew Balding
Barrier: 14
6 -Year-Old Horse
Breeding: Noble Mission (GB) - Limonar (Ire)
Form: 17x2513x2x
Verdict: This American-bred entire from English trainer Andrew Balding's yard has raced in the Middle East and UK this year, where he won and was placed twice in English summer staying classics. Won or placed in 13 of 18 starts, returns to Australia and goes straight into the Cup without a lead-up run.
Odds: $10 (win) $3.30 (place)

4) Verry Elleegant (NZ) 57kg
Jockey: James McDonald
Trainer: Chris Waller
Barrier: 19
6 -Year-Old Mare
Breeding: Zed (NZ) - Opulence (NZ)
Form: 7x3112x214
Verdict: Former Caulfield Cup winner, this Kiwi gem has over $9 million in earnings and nine Group 1 wins. Verry Elleegant ran third in the Cox Plate in what is a great warm-up for this. Stormed home for seventh in a stronger field last year. If it rains, the money will pour on.
Odds: $14 (win) $4.20 (place)

5) Explosive Jack (NZ) 54kg
Jockey: John Allen
Trainer: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
Barrier: 4
4 -Year-Old Horse
Breeding: Jakkalberry (Ire) - Extra Explosive (NZ)
Form: 1132113×95
Verdict: Tough young stayer from Maher/Eustace stable who won three rich Australian 3YO staying tests last season. Not many back up in their 4YO year and although this NZ-bred entire performed encouragingly when resuming, he put in a shocker in the Caulfield Cup last time out.
Odds: $26 (win) $6 (place)

6) The Chosen One (NZ) 54kg
Jockey: Damian Lane
Trainer: Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman
Barrier: 5
6 -Year-Old Horse
Breeding: Savabeel (Aus) - The Glitzy One (Aus)
Form: 4x2606x342
Verdict: The smokey in the field, and one for the sentimentalist, bred and part-owned by Invercargill's four Dennis brothers. Fourth in the race last year, and put in an eye-catching run two starts back for second behind leading chance Delphi. One for juicier odds and the Pick4.
Odds: $26 (win) $6 (place)

7) Delphi (Ire) 53.5kg
Jockey: Damien Oliver
Trainer: Anthony & Sam Freedman
Barrier: 3
6 -Year-Old Horse
Breeding: Galileo (Ire) - Bye Bye Birdie (Ire)
Form: 111×6x421
Verdict: A very impressive winner of the Herbert Power two starts ago, this locally-trained Irish import was second favourite in the Caulfield Cup but finished at the rear of the field after over-racing. Talented and lightly raced, this is another import to be taken very seriously.
Odds: $15 (win) $4.50 (place)

8) Ocean Billy (NZ) 53.5kg
Jockey: Damien Thornton
Trainer: Chris Waller
Barrier: 13
6 -Year-Old Gelding
Breeding: Ocean Park (NZ) - Cool Storm (NZ)
Form: 71x610x505
Verdict: This year's 3200m Auckland Cup winner joined Chris Waller's stable only at the start of October, running midfield in the Caulfield Cup. An honest if somewhat dour stayer will need to be at his best to match this field and will relish any rain.
Odds: $41(win) $8 (place)

9) Selino (GB) 53.5kg
Jockey: Ron Stewart
Trainer: Chris Waller
Barrier: 24
6 -Year-Old Gelding
Breeding: Champs Elysees (GB) - Air Kiss (GB)
Form: X86541x084
Verdict: Trainer Chris Waller made his name with British imports such as this out-and-out stayer who won the Sydney Cup as a lightweight 4YO. Ran second in group company two starts ago, and his last-start failure can be discounted. Will relish the 3200m and a roughie for the Pick4.
Odds: $51 (win) $10 (place)

10) Johnny Get Angry (NZ) 53kg
Jockey: Lachlan King
Trainer: Denis Pagan
Barrier: 22
4 -Year-Old Gelding
Breeding: Tavistock (NZ) - Luminova (NZ)
Form: 329431×009
Verdict: This New Zealand-bred gelding won the Group 1 VRC Derby last year and was immediately put aside with a view at being aimed for a shot at the Melbourne Cup. Resuming in August, he has beaten just four horses home in total in four starts. Odds reflect its chances
Odds: $81 (win) $18 (place)

11) Knights Order (Ire) 53kg
Jockey: Daniel Stackhouse
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
Barrier: 9
7 -Year-Old Gelding
Breeding: So You Think (NZ) - Lamanka Lass (USA)
Form: 43x8511x90
Verdict: Irish-bred former UK 3YO handicap winner, imported and trained by Gai Waterhouse barn, won the Brisbane Cup over 3200m in impressive fashion in June. Has not risen to the same form subsequently and at long odds in this.
Odds: $81 (win) $18 (place)

12) Persan 53kg
Jockey: Luke Currie
Trainer: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
Barrier: 11
5 -Year-Old Gelding
Breeding: Pierro (Aus) - Ofcourseican (Aus)
Form: 15x1244x37
Verdict: Another from the powerful Ballarat barn of Maher and Eustace, where he has thrived since being transferred when still a maiden. Has won six times in nine starts since maiden win in May and a super run for third in the Caulfield Cup puts him right in this.
Odds: $18 (win) $5.50 (place)

13) Carif 52.5kg
Jockey: Blaike McDougall
Trainer: Peter & Paul Snowden
Barrier: 8
6 -Year-Old Gelding
Breeding: So You Think (NZ) - Norzita (NZ)
Form: x07422x47
Verdict: A 3200m winner last year in the Sandown Cup, this locally-bred gelding is coming off a competitive winter in Brisbane, where he was runner-up in two group races.
However, he has yet to produce anything like that form in the spring and is at long odds.
Odds: $81 (win) $18 (place)

14) Master Of Wine (Ger) 52.5kg
Jockey: Fred Kersley
Trainer: Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes
Barrier: 6
7 -Year-Old Gelding
Breeding: Maxios (GB) - Magma (Ger)
Form: 8x663x0003
Verdict: This German import has been in muddling form in the past 12 months after showing promise earlier in his career. Showed a glimpse of his best form when storming home two starts back over 2500m but then backed it up with a disappointing Caulfield Cup run. Not liked.
Odds: $61 (win) $15 (place)

15) Pondus (GB) 52.5kg
Jockey: Rachel King
Trainer: Robert Hickmott
Barrier: 1
6 -Year-Old Gelding
Breeding: Sea The Moon (Ger) - Diablerette (GB)
Form: 0x22x722x5
Verdict: Cups king Lloyd Williams has won five Melbourne Cups, including two with Robert Hickmott, and this handy British stayer was trained by last year's Cup winner for Williams, Joseph O'Brien. On board is Sydney jockey Rachel King, who is no stranger to getting outsiders home.
Odds: $18 (win) $5.50 (place)

16) Grand Promenade (GB) 52kg
Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy
Trainer: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
Barrier: 21
6 -Year-Old Gelding
Breeding: Champs Elysees (GB) - Zacchera (GB)
Form: X221211251
Verdict: An in-form imported stayer from the powerful Ballarat stable of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, and has been on a mission to win the Melbourne Cup with a nearperfect build up. He comes in on a low weight and has three-time Cup-winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy aboard.
Odds: $14 (win) $4.20 (place)

17) Miami Bound (NZ) 52kg
Jockey: Patrick Moloney
Trainer: Danny O'Brien
Barrier: 17
5 -Year-Old Mare
Breeding: Reliable Man (GB) - Arapaho Miss (Aus)
Form: 878333×009
Verdict: Won twice at this carnival last year, including the VRC Oaks, and competed in the Melbourne Cup as a 3YO filly, finishing midfield. Has mixed her form since, with a pair of Group 1 placings in the autumn, but her four runs in the spring have been only fair. Others preferred.
Odds: $101 (win) $21 (place)

18) Port Guillaume (Fra) 52kg
Jockey: Harry Coffey
Trainer: Ben & JD Hayes
Barrier: 23
5 -Year-Old Gelding
Breeding: Le Havre (Ire) - Keira (Fra)
Form: 1x1510x060
Verdict: French stayers have form in this race. Unfortunately this one hasn't shown any since arriving in Australia last year. Prior to that, showed some good staying form in France with a group race victory there. Was finishing on in the Caulfield Cup and may be better over 3200m.
Odds: $101 (win) $21 (place)

19) She's Ideel 52kg
Jockey: Craig Newitt
Trainer: Bjorn Baker
Barrier: 20
6 -Year-Old Mare
Breeding: Dundeel (NZ) - Ana's Mail
Form: 32324×3719
Verdict: Trained by former New Zealander Bjorn Baker, this consistent mare rarely puts in a bad effort, winning comfortably two starts back. Was finishing on when sixth last start in the Caulfield Cup. Will get the distance and will really come into contention with some rain.
Odds: $61 (win) $15 (place)

20) Future Score (Ire) 51.5kg

- Scratched due to lameness in right foreleg.

21) Tralee Rose (NZ) 51kg
Jockey: Dean Holland
Trainer: Symon Wilde
Barrier: 12
5-Year-Old Mare
Breeding: Tavistock (NZ) - Star Of Tralee (NZ)
Form: 112114×332
Verdict: The staying-bred Kiwi mare won at Flemington during this carnival last year and has been ultra-consistent since, with five wins, including her last start in the Geelong Cup last week. The only slight question mark is whether she can handle 3200m.
Odds: $14 (win) $4.20 (place)

22) Floating Artist (Gb) 50kg
Jockey: Teo Nugent
Trainer: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
Barrier: 10
6-Year-Old Gelding
Breeding: Nathaniel (Ire) - Miss Kenton (Ire)
Form: 75x55x0111
Verdict: Yet another import in the Ballarat barn of Ciaron Maher and
David Eustace. Apart from his first Australian start in July, when obviously needing the run, he has run in the money, winning three times, and was a strongly-finishing second in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup last start. A definite chance.
Odds: $14 (win) $4.20 (place)

23) Great House (Ire) 50kg
Jockey: Michael Dee
Trainer: Chris Waller
Barrier: 7
6-Year-Old Gelding
Breeding: Galileo (Ire) - Anja (Ire)
Form: 34×1327515
Verdict: Great House stormed into the Cup with an impressive win in the Lexus Hotham Stakes last Saturday, the traditional last chance saloon for the Melbourne Cup. He is the fourth runner in the race for ex-pat Kiwi trainer Chris Waller, who is searching for his first Cup victory.
Odds: $18 (win) $5.50 (place)

23) Sir Lucan (Ire) 50kg
Jockey: Glen Boss
Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
Barrier: 18
4-Year-Old Horse
Breeding: Camelot (GB) - Sparrow (Ire)
Form: X41x81x248
Verdict: New English import, a listed winner and brother of last year's Cox Plate winner, the ill-fated Sir Dragonet. Trained in quarantine at Werribee for the Waterhouse/Bott stable and goes directly into the Melbourne Cup carrying just 50kg with Glen Boss on his back. Respect.
Odds: $18 (win) $5.50 (place)