Melbourne Cup Runners

Last Updated 3 weeks ago | Commercial content | 18+

International horse racing – especially the Melbourne Cup – is something many people are incredibly invested in. For this reason, we all began to wonder which horses will be in contention for the 2021 edition of the race as soon as the latest running was over. Do not hesitate to read our guide to get tips for the Melbourne Cup to help you decide which thoroughbred horse to bet on.

The Race That Stops the Nation is the sporting and betting peak of Australia’s year (learn more about Melbourne Cup betting), with millions tuning in to watch the race from around the world but we all know the real stars of the show are out there on the track.

Tuesday 2nd November is the day to mark in your diary for the Melbourne Cup 2021 with Flemington Racecourse in Caulfield once again the famous host venue.

Up to a maximum of 24 horses will be in the starting gates for what is a high-stakes 3,200-metre (or near two-mile) race, with $8 million up for grabs in total.

This Group 1 race is of major international importance and so it is all about the prestige of taking the win, rather than the prize money, and with that, we’ll take an early look at who could potentially compete in the 161st running of this high-stakes horse racing event.

Which horses are running in the Melbourne Cup 2021?

It’s unclear as to whether 2020 hero Twilight Payment will be back to try to win a second year in a row, given that he’ll be eight years old, while perennial tryer Prince of Arran may also miss out.

Last year’s runner-up, Tiger Moth, looks certain to have another go at taking the win, all being well. However, there should be an improvement from some of last season’s up-and-comers as well. New entrants will, of course, be added to the list, and there are a couple of notable names already popping up on the ante-post betting charts for those wanting to place a bet on who will win early in the game.

We’ll note some of the early top contenders for what should be yet again one of the most exciting events anywhere in the horse racing world in 2021. For more information about how to watch the high-stakes Melbourne Cup race, read our guide to learn where and how to watch the Melbourne Cup live.

Melbourne Cup Runners

Editorial credit: Neale Cousland /

Melbourne Cup Favourites Odds – Three Horses to Watch

While much can – and will – change between now and 2nd November, you should watch these three horses carefully as the year goes on. In addition, you can also have a look at the Melbourne Cup odds here to find the best odds for the race.

Here are some of the potential Melbourne Cup horses that could participate in – and maybe win – the high-stakes 2021 Melbourne Cup race:

Twilight Payment (IRE)

After winning the 2020 edition of the Melbourne Cup, it is no surprise that Twilight Payment is one of the main favourites to participate in – and potentially win – the Melbourne Cup 2021.

Age: 8
Trainer:  Joseph O’Brien
Odds: TBA

English King (FR)

Although his form did tail off for Ed Walker, he retains a ton of natural ability. He was sold for huge money to Australia at the Tattersalls sales and will be campaigned down under in 2021, though his trainer is unclear just now.

Age: 4
Trainer: Michael Moroney
Odds: TBA

Verry Elleegant (IRE)

Having earned more than $9,000,000 in her career, this previous Caulfield Cup winner is one to watch for this year’s Melbourne Cup. She came in 7th place during the 2020 edition and could come back fighting.

Age: 6
Trainer: Chris Waller
Odds: TBA

You should be aware that odds are prone to change as race day approaches. You should make sure to recheck them before placing your bet.

Top Melbourne Cup Runners 2021

The final runners have not yet been announced for the 2021 edition of the Melbourne Cup. However, the horses below have the top ante-post odds, which can give you an idea of which horses will be selected.

All odds have been taken from bet365, but please keep in mind that the odds can change before the race so you should regularly check them before placing any bets.

Melbourne Cup HorseMelbourne Cup OddsVisit Site
Spanish Mission9.00
Twilight Payment13.00
Away He Goes15.00
Grand Promenade15.00
Explosive Jack17.00
Young Werther19.00
Realm Of Flowers21.00
Gold Trip26.00
Master Of Wine26.00
She’s Ideel26.00
Sir Dragonet26.00
The Chosen One26.00
Tralee Rose26.00
Verry Elleegant26.00
Dawn Patrol34.00
Floating Artist34.00

Below are four of the main horses expected to give a strong performance during this year’s Melbourne Cup.

English King

Age: 4
Trainer: TBC
Jockey: TBC
Odds: TBA

  • This very expensive recruit from Ed Walker’s yard in Berkshire has all the raw ingredients to make it to the very top in horse racing, and it could be that the Melbourne Cup will finally bring out the best in him.
  • His wins at Newcastle and Lingfield marked him out as potentially top-class and while his underwhelming run in The Derby, albeit in 5th place, rather knocked the stuffing out of him, he is sure to rediscover not only his form but also his previous progression now that he is to be trained in Australia.

Russian Camelot

Age: 4
Trainer: Danny O’Brien
Jockey: TBC
Odds: TBA

  • Unlike Tiger Moth, Russian Camelot wasn’t really ready for this race as a three-year-old but not because of a lack of experience. If anything, he’d arguably had too busy a season and will be able to handle the rigours of a tough Group 1 schedule better now that he is a little older.


Age: 5
Trainer: Dermot Weld
Jockey: TBC
Odds: TBA

  • The excellent mare will have the Melbourne Cup on her agenda from the beginning of the 2021 campaign, with Dermot Weld a past master at training them for this high-stakes event.
  • In 2020 the Aga Khan’s classy daughter of Shamardal went on a 4-race winning streak, taking victories at Group level in Ireland, France and the USA at the Breeders’ Cup. She stays a mile-and-a-half well and likes fast ground, so conditions in Australia should be perfect for the early ante post favourite with British layers.

Tiger Moth

Age: 4
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Jockey: TBC
Odds: TBA

  • Tiger Moth was backed into favouritism for the 2020 Melbourne Cup having been left alone a little more than fellow three-year-old Russian Camelot.
  • The rest suited him well and he ran a blinder to finish a close second, but that’s not to say he can’t improve more in 2021 and should be watched closely as the season in Europe progresses.

Many horses who have run well in the Melbourne Cup have returned to do so again, so this horse is the obvious choice of many at this early stage and will be one to watch.

Who are the runners in the Melbourne Cup 2021?

This year’s final field has not yet been announced, as the draw usually takes place in October. Once the final lineup of horses has been announced, we will update you here.

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Melbourne Cup Runners FAQ

Which horses have won the Melbourne Cup in recent years?

Here are the horses that have won the Melbourne Cup over the last 20 years as well as their trainer and jockey.

Melbourne Cup YearHorseJockeyTrainer
Melbourne Cup 2020Twilight Payment (IRE)Jye McNeilJoseph O’Brien
Melbourne Cup 2019Vow And Declare (AUS)Craig WilliamsDanny O’Brien
Melbourne Cup 2018Cross Counter (GB)Kerrin McEvoyCharlie Appleby
Melbourne Cup 2017Rekindling (GB)Corey BrownJoseph O’Brien
Melbourne Cup 2016Almandin (GER)Kerrin McEvoyRobert Hickmott
Melbourne Cup 2015Prince of Penzance (NZ)Michelle PayneDarren Weir
Melbourne Cup 2014Protectionist (GER)Ryan MooreAndreas Wohler
Melbourne Cup 2013Fiorente (IRE)Damien OliverGai Waterhouse
Melbourne Cup 2012Green Moon (IRE)Brett PebbleRobert Hickmott
Melbourne Cup 2011Dunaden (FRA)Christophe LemaireMikel Delzangles
Melbourne Cup 2010Americain (USA)Gérald MosséAlain de Royer Dupré
Melbourne Cup 2009Shocking (AUS)Corey BrownMark Kavanagh
Melbourne Cup 2008Viewed (AUS)Blake ShinnBart Cummings
Melbourne Cup 2007Efficient (NZ)Michael RoddGraeme Rogerson
Melbourne Cup 2006Delta Blues (JPN)Yasunari IwataKatsuhiko Sumii
Melbourne Cup 2005Makybe Diva (AUS)Glen BossLee Freedman
Melbourne Cup 2004Makybe Diva (AUS)Glen BossLee Freedman
Melbourne Cup 2003Makybe Diva (AUS)Glen BossDavid Hall
Melbourne Cup 2002Media Puzzle (AUS)Damien OliverDermot Weld
Melbourne Cup 2001Ethereal (NZ)Scott SeamerSheila Laxon

Do Melbourne Cup runners start in a straight line?

Yes, the gates on the field at Flemington Racecourse in Caulfield are lined up in a row, meaning the Melbourne Cup horses start the race in a straight line.

How many runners are in the Melbourne Cup?

Each year, there are 24 horses who take part in the Melbourne Cup race. However, this number can be slightly less if there are any last-minute scratchings that stop a horse or two from making it to the start line.

How many horses died during the Melbourne Cup 2020?

Unfortunately, there was one horse who died during the Melbourne Cup in 2020. This was Anthony Van Dyck, trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Hugh Bowman.

How much do Melbourne Cup tickets cost?

The title of the most successful Melbourne Cup jockey is held by two Australian jockeys, Bobby Lewis and Harry White, who both won the Melbourne Cup on four occasions each. Lewis won in 1902, 1915, 1919 and 1927 while White won for the first time over half a century later in 1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979.

How many overseas runners are there in the Melbourne Cup race?

The number of overseas runners competing in the Melbourne Cup changes each year but there is normally a large proportion of the final field who have been bred and trained abroad.
Below you can find the list of overseas runners who took part in last year’s Melbourne Cup:

Melbourne Cup HorseMelbourne Cup TrainerMelbourne Cup Jockey
Anthony Van Dyck (IRE)Aidan O’BrienHugh Bowman
Avilius (GB)James CummingsJohn Allen
Master of Reality (IRE)Joseph O’BrienBen Melham
Sir Dragonet (IRE)Ciaron Maher & David EustaceGlen Boss
Twilight Payment (IRE)Joseph O’BrienJye McNeil
Verry Elleegant (NZ)Chris WallerMark Zahra
Mustajeer (GB)Kris LeesMichael Rodd
Stratum Albion (GB)Willie MullinsJordan Childs
Dashing Willoughby (GB)Andrew BaldingMichael Walker
Finche (GB)Chris WallerJames McDonald
Prince Of Arran (GB)Charlie FellowsJamie Kah
Surprise Baby (NZ)Paul PreuskerCraig Williams
Russian Camelot (IRE)Danny O’BrienDamien Oliver
Steel Prince (IRE)Anthony & Sam FreedmanWilliam Pike
The Chosen One (NZ)Murray Baker & Andrew ForsmanDaniel Stackhouse
Ashrun (FR)Andreas WohlerDeclan Bates
Warning (GB)Anthony & Sam FreedmanLuke Currie
Etah James (NZ)Ciaron Maher & David EustaceBilly Egan
Tiger Moth (IRE)Aidan O’BrienKerrin McEvoy
Oceanex (NZ)Mick Price & Michael KentDean Yendall
Miami Bound (NZ)Danny O’BrienDaniel Moor
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