2021 MELBOURNE CUP (Tuesday 2 November 2021)

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The Racing Horse takes a look at the 161st Melbourne Cup which offers a staggering $7,750,000 in prize money for a handicap. The country's oldest and most important sporting event is an enduring cultural institution and not a single race around the world can compare to it.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions, things will be very different this year and all areas of the race will be affected. For example, the Victorian Government has confirmed only 10,000 vaccinated people will be allowed to attend instead of the usual 100,000+, but the restrictions also mean the race has been given back (albeit temporarily) to the owners - the Australian people.


In recent years the Cup had changed shape massively and totally unrecognisable from the days of Makybe Diva (2003/04/05). Regretfully, the race has been snidely peddled by its custodians to the ruler of Dubai and an Irish breeding leviathan, ably assisted by the actions of a casino owning braggart! These actions represent an act of treachery by its custodians upon the legitimate shareholders!

In recent years nearly half of the total runners were from outside of Australia and in contemptuous breach of the sanctity of the race! Ironically, the restrictions mean 20 of the 24 runners will be Australian-trained and a home winner does more than beckon!

The Aussies have the red hot favourite in INCENTIVISE (P Moody) at 6/4, he is the shortest priced ante post favourite in 91 years (since the legendary Phar Lap in 1930) and attempting a 10th successive win! He is clearly the one to beat but only two horses in the past 44 years have lumped 57kg or more to win. It is on this basis we are taking the favourite on though he has every right to win, and only one favourite has won in the last 17 years.

Before we look at any contenders we are duty bound to dispel the big myth that is regurgitated/perpetuated year after year, not just by the news media, but also serious players within horse racing! Punters must ignore the noise regarding the need for a low draw! As we said to Willie Mullins in the Phar Lap Lounge in 2017  these Melbourne Cups are won by a kind trip or an inspired ride - he totally agreed!

We now ingest some key and pertinent trends, but first acknowledge the five prerequisites of horse racing wagering: trainer form, class, distance, ground conditions and jockey competence. Because there are not many races over long distances within the Australian Racing Calendar, our determinations on distance may be compromised given many of the middle-distance types will attempt the 3200m for the first time.

  • All 17 Cup winners won at Group class level previously (100%)
  • 15/17 raced in the last four weeks (88%)
  • 15/17 came from stall 5 or higher (88%)
  • Just 1 winning favourite in the last 15 years (7%)
  • Just 1 female winning jockey since 1861 (7%)
  • None carried more than 8st 13lbs or 57kgs in the last 17 years (0%)
  • No mares in the last 15 years have won this race (0%)

We show the runners, age, sex, trainer and their 12 month strike rate and weight carried, and then sort the contenders from the pretenders:

1 INCENTIVISE 5yo g Peter G Moody (15%) 57kg
2 GRAND PROMENADE (GB) 6yo g Ciaron Maher & David Eustace (19%) 52kg
3 VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ) 6yo m Chris Waller (15%) 57kg
4 TWILIGHT PAYMENT (IRE) 9yo g Joseph O'Brien (14%) 58kg
5 SPANISH MISSION (USA) 6yo h Andrew Balding (15%) 57kg
6 EXPLOSIVE JACK (NZ) 4yo h Ciaron Maher & David Eustace (19%) 54kg
7 JOHNNY GET ANGRY (NZ) 4yo g Denis Pagan (9%) 53kg
8 THE CHOSEN ONE (NZ) 6yo h Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman (17%) 54kg
9 SELINO (GB) 6yo g Chris Waller (15%) 53.5kg
10 MIAMI BOUND (NZ) 5yo m Danny O'Brien (12%) 52kg
11 SHE’S IDEEL 6yo m Bjorn Baker (17%) 52kg
12 OCEAN BILLY (NZ) 6yo g Chris Waller (15%) 53.5kg
13 DELPHI (IRE) 5yo h Anthony & Sam Freedman (16%) 53.5kg
14 PERSAN 5yo g Ciaron Maher & David Eustace (19%) 53kg
15 KNIGHTS ORDER (IRE) 7yo g Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott (20%) 53kg
16 TRALEE ROSE (NZ) 5yo m Symon Wilde (18%) 51kg
17 CARIF 6yo g Peter & Paul Snowden (13%) 52.5kg
18 PONDUS (GB) 6yo g Robert Hickmott (14%) 52.5kg
19 MASTER OF WINE (GER) 7yo g Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes (17%) 52.5kg
20 PORT GUILLAUME (FR) 5yo g Ben & JD Hayes (13%) 52kg
21 FUTURE SCORE (IRE) 7yo g Matt Cumani (13%) 51.5kg
22 FLOATING ARTIST 5yo g Ciaron Maher & David Eustace (19%) 50kg
23 SIR LUCAN (IRE) 4yo h Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott (20%) 50kg
24 GREAT HOUSE (IRE) 5yo g Chris Waller (15%) 50kg

There are 4 mares (Verry Elleegant, Miami Bound, She's Ideel and Tralee Rose) in the race and they have been eliminated from our thought process as well as Johnny Get Angry the Denis Pagan (9%) entry. There are 5 in the race with no Group wins, they are Away He Goes, Carif, Pondus, Future Score and Sir Lucan.

Twilight Payment is almost a 9yo and not ran for 51 days, he cannot win and doubt his place chances irrespective of his 10/1 price. Spanish Mission has a strong staying profile, ably trained but the 74 days since a run is a negative, however he has claims but not at 7/1. We have already removed the top four in market in regards to winning this race.

The trends confirm an 88% recurrence rate for those who have ran within the last four weeks, 20 of them have ran within the last 17 days. For many of the runners who are not proven over the trip, this quick turnaround must surely come too quick, especially those with a break of less than 3 days including Great House and Knights Order, and they are eliminated.

We now look at the remaining contenders and remove those 66/1 or bigger, this leaves just 8 genuine contenders and note Ciaron Maher & David Eustace has 4 entries and all have a chance. The team also carry the best national average of 19% for this year. They must surely go close to winning given the quality of their charges! We readily accept the favourite is going to hard to beat and will employ a stake saver, but we will back the combination above in some form!

1 INCENTIVISE 5yo g Peter G Moody (15%) 57kg
2 GRAND PROMENADE (GB) 6yo g Ciaron Maher & David Eustace (19%) 52kg
6 EXPLOSIVE JACK (NZ) 4yo h Ciaron Maher & David Eustace (19%) 54kg
8 THE CHOSEN ONE (NZ) 6yo h Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman (17%) 54kg
9 SELINO (GB) 6yo g Chris Waller (15%) 53.5kg
12 OCEAN BILLY (NZ) 6yo g Chris Waller (15%) 53.5kg
13 DELPHI (IRE) 5yo h Anthony & Sam Freedman (16%) 53.5kg
14 PERSAN 5yo g Ciaron Maher & David Eustace (19%) 53kg
19 MASTER OF WINE (GER) 7yo g Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes (17%) 52.5kg
20 PORT GUILLAUME (FR) 5yo g Ben & JD Hayes (13%) 52kg
22 FLOATING ARTIST 5yo g Ciaron Maher & David Eustace (19%) 51.5kg

Our nomination is for GRAND PROMENADE at 16/1 (Betfred). He loves Flemington (3 wins), receives lumps of weight from the top 4 in the market, is in good form winning the Group 3 over 1m4+ on good to soft ground, and looking every inch like a 2 miler. The trainers are 19% this year. Should jockey Kerrin McEvoy win the race, it will see him tie the record for most Cup wins by a jockey (four).


17/17: Won a Group class race before (100%)
15/17: Won 8 or fewer (88%)
15/17: Winners from stall 5 or higher (88%)
15/17: Winning distance – 2 lengths or less (88%)
14/17: Raced within the last 4 weeks (82%)
14/17: Ran Geelong (2), Flemington (3), Caulfield (4) or Mooney Valley (5) lto (82%)
12/17: Drawn stall 9 or higher (71%)
12/17: Placed in top 3 last time out (71%)
11/17: Aged 5yo or older (65%)
11/17: Raced at Flemington Park before (7 won) (65%)
10/17: Won by Australian-based horse (59%)
10/17: Returned 12/1 or shorter (59%)
10/17: Raced within last 2 weeks (59%)
10/17: Aged 6yo or older (59%)
..9/17: Won by a 6yo (53%)
..7/17: Placed favourites (41%)
0/17: Carried more than 8st 13lbs or 57kg (0%)


2019: VOW AND DECLARE 10/1
2018: CROSS COUNTER (8/1)
2017: REKINDLING (14/1)
2016: ALMANDIN (10/1)
2015: PRINCE OF PENZANCE (100/1)
2013: FIORENTE (6/1f)
2012: GREEN MOON (19/1)
2011: DUNADEN (15/2)
2010: AMERICAIN (12/1)
2009: SHOCKING (9/1)
2008: VIEWED (40/1)
2007: EFFICIENT (16/1)
2006: DELTA BLUES (17/1)
2005: MAKYBE DIVA (17/5f)
2004: MAKYBE DIVA (13/5f)

  • The average winning SP in the last 14 runnings is 18/1
  • In 85 attempts stall 18 has never provided a Melbourne Cup winner
  • Michelle Payne is the only female jockey winner (2015) Pride Of Penzance at 100/1, a win that has since been sullied (not by Michelle Payne).
  • This year, English woman but Sydney based Rachel King, has a good ride on Pondus for braggart owner Lloyd Williams. To date, she has only had four career rides at Flemington and not ridden a winner. It is personal, but we do not want that one to win, the owner is no friend of this great race!
  • We are expecting 23° on Monday and 29° on Tuesday so we are expecting a fast track and they are almost certain to water, especially after an above average amount of fatalities at the festival in recent years! It is right the sting must be taken out of the track come Tuesday.
The Racing Horse Verdict:

1st: GRAND PROMENADE  2nd: Incentivise  3rd: Spanish Mission  4th: Floating Artist   5th: The Chosen One  6th: Persan

BY THE WAY: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace's last 16 runners have produced 2 winners BUT 7 second places - hitting the crossbar or not?

  Today's Pacafi: click here

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