Australian sporting icon Bruce McAvaney has given his verdict for the Melbourne Cup and is in awe of a fairytale runner.
Giddy up everyone, because it’s the first Tuesday of November and that means one thing — it’s Melbourne Cup time.
We’ll be bringing you live coverage as we count down to the race that stops the nation at 3pm AEDT.
Catch all the action from the Melbourne Spring Carnival LIVE on Racing.com, available on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
If you’ve left your annual flutter to the last minute and want to know who to throw your cash behind, check out our extensive runner-by-runner form guide.
Alternatively, if you’re a racing novice and that seems a little daunting, we’ve got a 60-second method to figure out who will win this year’s Cup.
For those of you wanting to remember what life was like at Flemington before Covid-19 restrictions, then these photos of punters letting their hair down after a champagne or six will give you a chuckle.
A maximum of 10,000 fully vaccinated spectators will be on hand to cheer home the field down the famous Flemington straight this afternoon.
Stunned Bruce gives his tips for Cup
Aussie sporting icon Bruce McAvaney says he can’t believe the rapid rise of red-hot Aussie star Incentivise.
The legendary racing caller is in disbelief at the five-year-old’s fairytale run from the obscurity of Queensland racing to become the most talked-about horse in Australia.
“He was an also-ran six months ago,” McAvaney told Channel 7.
“He was a no-hoper. So you can’t believe that he’s in this position. He’s won nine in a row, including the Caulfield Cup, so he’s captured the hearts of the nation.
“I think most of Australia will be riding on his back today.”
The 68-year-old says foreign raider Grand Prmenade looks the biggest threat to the short-priced favourite.
Race 4, Furphy Plate result
1 – Milton Park
2 – Skyman
3 – Charleise
Big error has come back to bite Cup favourite
Red hot Cup favourite Incentivise has been burned by a mistake two-months in the making, according to Cup personality Lloyd Williams.
Williams, who has the record with seven Cup wins as an owner, has pointed out the five-year-old gelding has been punished with a handicap of 57kg on the back of three Group 1 wins this Spring Carnival.
Despite the extra weight, Incentivise is still one of the shortest priced favourites in the history of the great weight-for-age race.
Williams says the owners of Incentivise made a big error in running the Peter Moody-trained horse in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes in September — a win that put the horse’s weights for the Cup up with the handicappers.
The $600,000 prize was simply too good for the connections to ignore.
“The big thing about him, with great respect to them (connections), I think they handled him very badly running him in the Craiglee (Makybe Diva Stakes) and getting his weight up too soon,” Williams said, according to punters.com.au.
“They could have run him in a 1700m race that day and he wouldn’t be carrying the weight he’s carrying, he’d probably have 55.5kg or 55kg. He’s 2.5kg under the scale at 57kg, it’s a serious weight for two miles. If you look at Twilight Payment, he’s won the Cup at two miles and he’s giving him [only] 1kg. Now this horse hasn’t won a Melbourne Cup and he’s only getting 1kg off. But I think he might be something very special.”
Despite his criticism of the preparation, Williams still believes Incentivise will be hard to beat.
Blaike McDougall does the double in Race 3, Subzero Handicap
Jockey Blaike McDougall has his second win on Cup day after riding Exelman to victory in the 1400m Subzero Handicap.
The Richard Laming-trained horse powered past runner-up Naval Envoy in the final 100m to win by a length. McDougall also piloted Team Captain to win Race 2.
Race 3 result:
1 – Exelman
2 – Naval Envoy
3 – Standoff
Race 2, The Macca’s Run result:
1- Team Captain
3- Good Idea
4- Lion’s Share
‘Just very sad’: Disaster strikes on Cup morning
Future Score has been scratched from the race after being re-examined by vets this morning with lameness in his right foreleg, bringing the field down to 23 runners.
It is a devastating blow for trainer Matt Cumani and jockey Dean Yendall.
“Just very sad for the owners of the horse, we thought he was a better chance than 200-1, he was really peaking for this week,” Cumani told SEN on Tuesday morning.
The trainer questioned the last-minute decision and was critical of the “ultra-conservative” stance from Racing Victoria. Safety measures for Cup runners have been ramped up this year as a result of an investigation into safety practices after six horses died in the Cup over the past seven years.
Cumani said the strict measures went too far for his runner.
“I think there’s a lot of pressure on Racing Victoria to be ultra, ultra conservative. And for them it was a real margin call, it went down to 7.29am to make the decision,” he said, according to racing.com.
“They decided to be ultra-cautious. I can understand their point of view when they don’t know a horse inside out. But for me and my vet, who know him inside out, and know he presented in the same way going into the Cranbourne Cup, which he won convincingly, it’s a bit frustrating.”
He said he expects Future Score to race again this month.
Meanwhile, Delphi ($21) has been given the all-clear to race in the Melbourne Cup after passing an extra veterinary test this morning.
Delphi presented signs of lameness in his left foreleg on Monday, but pulled up fine on Tuesday and vets have given him the green light.
Photo finish in Race 1 at Flemington
Trainer Peter Moody’s Cup day is off to a flyer with Brereton winning the Group 3 Darley Maribyrnong Plate.
Brereton edged out runner Renosu in a thrilling photo finish which showed Luke Nolan’s runner win by the smallest of margins.
Race 1 result:
1 – Brereton
2 – Renosu
3 – Le Gagneur
Late plunge on Melbourne Cup runner
Johnny Get Angry has been slashed to $71 with some bookmakers — less than half the price the unfancied four-year-old gelding was 24 hours out from the Cup.
The New Zealand horse, which is trained by former North Melbourne AFL coach Denis Pagan, had been $151 with the TAB on Monday.
Harness racing expert and professional punter Matt Leppard wrote on Twitter the big move in the market “is beyond me”.
Melbourne turning it on with record temperature
The 2021 Melbourne Cup will be run in the hottest conditions seen at Flemington since 2005 with the mercury set to reach 30C.
The heat won’t stop the crowd of 10,000 enjoying the day out.
Deleted tweet calls out Sydney ‘disgrace’
Renowned race caller Darren Flindell blasted the “unnecessary disgrace” that was the late finish to Sydney’s Golden Eagle meet on the weekend, suggesting it was part of a ploy to steal the limelight from the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
The final two races at Rosehill took place after 6pm on Saturday, with the final event being run after 6.45pm. It came at the same time as the Melbourne Cup barrier draw, which unfolded after the Derby Day races at Flemington finished earlier on the same day.
Taking to Twitter, Flindell appeared to suggest the timing of the races in Sydney was to keep punters’ interest and discourage them from turning their attention to the Melbourne Cup barrier draw.
The rivalry between the racing scenes in Sydney and Melbourne is fierce — and it’s clearly no different as Cup Day approaches.
Punters.com.au reports Flindell on Monday tweeted: “6.48pm finish at Rosehill on Saturday in darkness was an unnecessary disgrace in another lattempt (sic) to disrupt the Melbourne carnival.”
The tweet was reportedly deleted later on Monday after garnering nearly 600 likes.
Who are the Melbourne Cup favourites?
Incentivise is the shortest-priced Melbourne Cup favourite since Phar Lap in 1930, paying $2.80 with the TAB to win.
Spanish Mission ($10) and last year’s winner Twilight Payment ($14) are also favoured by the bookies to be at the front of the field in the closing stages.
Click here for a full run-down of every horse’s odds and chances of winning.
Melbourne Cup 2021 field (horse, weight, trainer, jockey)
1 – TWILIGHT PAYMENT: 58kg, Joseph O’Brien, Jye McNeil
2 – INCENTIVISE: 57kg, Peter G Moody, Brett Prebble
3 – SPANISH MISSION: 57kg, Andrew Balding, Craig Williams
4 – VERRY ELLEEGANT: 57kg, Chris Waller, James McDonald
5 – EXPLOSIVE JACK: 54kg, Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, John Allen
6 – THE CHOSEN ONE: 54kg, Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman, Damian Lane
7 – DELPHI: 53.5kg, Anthony & Sam Freedman, Damien Oliver
8 – OCEAN BILLY: 53.5kg, Chris Waller, Damien Thornton
9 – SELINO: 53.5kg, Chris Waller, Ron Stewart
10 – JOHNNY GET ANGRY: 53kg, Denis Pagan, Lachlan King
11 – KNIGHTS ORDER: 53kg, Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, Daniel Stackhouse
12 – PERSAN: 53kg, Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Luke Currie
13 – CARIF: 52.5kg, Peter & Paul Snowden, Blaike McDougall
14 – MASTER OF WINE: 52.5kg, Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes, Fred Kersley
15 – PONDUS: 52.5kg, Robert Hickmott, Rachel King
16 – GRAND PROMENADE: 52kg, Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Kerrin McEvoy
17 – MIAMI BOUND: 52kg, Danny O’Brien, Patrick Moloney
18 – PORT GUILLAUME: 52kg, Ben & JD Hayes, Harry Coffey
19 – SHE’S IDEEL: 52kg, Bjorn Baker, Craig Newitt
20 – FUTURE SCORE: 51.5kg, Matt Cumani, Dean Yendall
21 – TRALEE ROSE: 51kg, Symon Wilde, Dean Holland
22 – FLOATING ARTIST: 50kg, Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Teo Nugent
23 – GREAT HOUSE: 50kg, Chris Waller, Teo Nugent, Michael Dee
24 – SIR LUCAN: 50kg, Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, Glen Boss
Flemington race times (all times AEDT)
RACE 1 (10:45AM): GROUP 3 DARLEY MARIBYRNONG PLATE (1000m)
RACE 2 (11:20PM): THE MACCA’S RUN (2800m)
RACE 3 (12PM): RESIMAX GROUP SUBZERO HANDICAP (1400m)
RACE 4 (12:40PM): LISTED TAB FURPHY PLATE (1800m)
RACE 5 (1:20PM): GRINDERS COFFEE ROASTERS TROPHY (1400m)
RACE 6 (1:55PM): THE SCHWEPPERVESCENCE PLATE (1000m)
RACE 7 (3PM): GROUP 1 LEXUS MELBOURNE CUP (3200M)
RACE 8 (4PM): GROUP 3 HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB STAKES (1400m)
RACE 9 (4:40PM): LISTED TAB TROPHY (1800m)
RACE 10 (5:15PM): MSS SECURITY SPRINT (1200m)