Melbourne Cup Runners

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International horse racing, and the Melbourne Cup, in particular, is a sport of perpetual joy and with that, we all began to wonder who will be in contention for 2021 as soon as the latest running was over.

The Race That Stops the Nation is the sporting and betting peak of Australia’s year, 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, November 2 is the day to mark in your diary for the Melbourne Cup 2021 with Flemington Racecourse once again the famous host venue.

Up to a maximum of 24 horses will be in the starting gates for what is a 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 winning it, rather than the prize money, and with that, we take an early look at who could potentially compete for the 161st running of this top-class 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 again, given that he’ll be eight years of age, while perennial tryer Prince of Arran may also miss out.

Runner-up Tiger Moth looks certain to have another go all being well though there should be an improvement from some of last season’s up-and-comers. 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.

We 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.

Melbourne Cup Runners

Editorial credit: Neale Cousland / Shutterstock.com

Melbourne Cup favourites odds – 3 horses to watch

While much can and will change between now and November 2, these three should be watched carefully as the year goes on.

Here are other potential Melbourne Cup horses that could participate in the 2021 Melbourne Cup race:

English King

  • This son of 2000 Guineas and Derby winner Camelot is a very interesting contender. A very taking winner of the Lingfield Derby Trial in a quick time, English King was made ante post favourite for The Derby at Epsom but was one of many horses ridden poorly behind pacemaker Serpentine.
  • His form did tail off for Ed Walker, but 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: TBC

Russian Camelot

  • This colt was just a three-year-old when being pitched into the Melbourne Cup in 2020 and he ran with distinction in 8th place after a busy campaign.
  • His level of form – he is a Group 1 winner – is not in question and it could just be that he needs some warm weather on his back and a good rest from the track. When he returns as a four-year-old, he is liable to reach his peak at just the right time and so must be in sharp focus.

Age: 4
Trainer: Danny O’Brien

Tiger Moth

  • Many could not see why so much money was punted on this horse for the 2020 renewal, but he proved his point in finishing a fine second behind Twilight Payment for Aidan O’Brien.
  • Previously only a Group 3 winner, Tiger Moth has now proven his liking for conditions at Flemington and given that so many horses run well in multiple Melbourne Cups it would be folly to leave the son of Galileo off the shortlist.

Age: 4
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Top Melbourne Cup runners 2021

What we consider to be the top runners now may completely change come November, but right now these four have what it takes in paper to be very competitive in the 2021 Melbourne Cup.

English King

Age: 4
Trainer: TBC

  • 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

  • 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.

Tarnawa

Age: 5
Trainer: Dermot Weld

  • 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 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

  • 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.

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