2021 Melbourne Cup Tips – Horses, Betting Tips & Odds

We have expert betting tips for the Melbourne Cup this Tuesday at Flemington which features a quality field of 24.

It’s the biggest race in Australia and the locals have a terrific charge. Incentivise is trying for the Cups double, but he has a stack of opposition looking to run him down.

We have a runner-by-runner betting guide available for the 2021 Melbourne Cup.


Our best bets for Melbourne Cup 2021

Best Bet:

Incentivise @ $2.30

Best Each Way Bet:

Tralee Rose @ $16

Best Roughie:

Great House @ $27

Melbourne Cup Trifecta Tips

Punters should have seven runners on their ticket for the Melbourne Cup trifecta.

  • Incentivise
  • Tralee Rose
  • Great House
  • Twilight Payment
  • Spanish Mission
  • Grand Promenade
  • Verry Elleegant

Melbourne Cup First-Four Tips

We have included eight runners for our Melbourne Cup first-four.

  • Incentivise
  • Tralee Rose
  • Great House
  • Twilight Payment
  • Spanish Mission
  • Grand Promenade
  • Verry Elleegant
  • Floating Artist

Melbourne Cup Form Guide & Tips

1. Twilight Payment ($11)

He showed his class last year and his win at Curragh two back is a good sign. Tough type, but he has to carry 58kg.

That makes it tough, but include in trifecta calculations.

2. Incentivise (Best Bet – $2.30)

The boom horse of the field and he only needs to carry the 57kg to win. Continues to measure up at the top level, and the Melbourne Cup has been the target all along.

Unbeaten in two starts at Flemington and it settles beautifully, so the distance won’t be an issue.

3. Spanish Mission ($8.50)

A lovely type that finished second behind Stradivarius. However, since arriving in Australia, he has failed vet checks.

That is a huge concern ahead of the Cup, but if he’s given the all clear, he could be worth adding into calculations.

4. Verry Elleegant ($11)

It won’t be easy for the champion mare to settle over this distance. She races fiercely, and that’s not ideal over 3200m.

James McDonald rides, which is a positive, and money has come for her steadily. Another runner that punters can’t leave out.

5. Explosive Jack ($41)

We have been disappointed with Explosive Jack, who looked like a rising stayer in the making. The Derby winner hasn’t shown up in the spring, so he might be more of an autumn horse now.

6. The Chosen One ($61)

The Kiwi didn’t fire last start, but he has been around the mark in the Melbourne Cup in years gone by.

He sees out the distance, so he can’t be overlooked at the big odds.

7. Delphi ($41)

Delphi couldn’t have been more disappointing in the Caulfield Cup. He had a soft enough lead but hit the wall late, so that’s a concern.

His win prior was excellent and Damien Oliver rides. Thin-end of first four selections.

8. Ocean Billy ($91)

Ocean Billy is a one-paced New Zealand runner who will unlikely test this field. Big odds available and rightfully so.

9. Selino ($126)

Won at his last start last season, but his form this time in is poor. He has never shown great ability since arriving in Australia, and we can’t see that changing.

10. Johnny Get Angry ($71)

Another Derby winner that hasn’t shown up as an older horse. Awful form this season, and rising to 3200m is the only positive.

11. Knights Order ($101)

Pushes forward and he will make it a truly run two miles. He didn’t fire on Saturday, and we don’t think he’ll fire on Tuesday.

12. Persan ($31)

We can’t leave out Persan, who finished third behind Incentivise in the Caulfield Cup. He meets the winner 1.5kg better off in the weights, which is a lot over this distance.

He showed his ability in last year’s Melbourne Cup, and he could improve on that position.

13. Carif ($151)

Punters get big odds and with good reason. He likes Flemington, but that’s the only positive we can find.

14. Master of Wine ($81)

He ran third two starts back, but apart from that, it has been slim pickings for Master of Wines.

He might be better suited to running in Sydney in the autumn.

15. Pondus ($41)

There was a lot of money for Pondus last start, but he failed to deliver at Moonee Valley. Draws the inside with no weight on his back, so he could improve.

Rachel King rides, and her lack of experience in this race could be important.

16. Grand Promenade ($20)

A lovely stayer who could be overlooked. Three of his eight wins have come at Flemington, and the distance is no problem.

He put 1.3 lengths on Tralee Rose last start, so that form has been franked. He can’t be left out at the price.

17. Miami Bound ($126)

The Oaks winner needs rain and she’s unlikely to get it. Not running well enough to consider.

18. Port Guillaume ($126)

His odds tell punters all they need to know. He’s not a quality stayer, and he got into the field based on his European form.

19. She’s Ideel ($91)

We liked her chances in the Caulfield Cup and she wasn’t too bad. She should see out the distance, but she might be a long way off them turning for home.

Not a bad bet at the price.

20. Future Score ($201)

A win would be a shock. He’s paying huge odds and he could need to find a few lengths just to be competitive.

21. Tralee Rose (Best Each Way – $16)

Her win in the Geelong Cup was impressive, and we’re prepared to put her in selections.

She was tackled in the straight by Dr Drill, but she fought back and rising to 3200m only helps her chances.

Carrying 51kg could tip the scales in her favour.

22. Floating Artist ($18)

Only a nose behind the winner last start and it can’t be disregarded. Won his only Flemington start and the distance should be fine.

Respected in betting markets.

23. Great House (Best Roughie – $27)

We love the way he quickened on Saturday. He needed to win to make it into the field, and he could make the most of his opportunity.

Having a turn-of-foot is ideal for the Melbourne Cup, and that will be on show with 50kg on his back.

24. Sir Lucan ($23)

An imported runner who has shown glimpses of form. Punters should always respect the European four year olds at the light weight.


Melbourne Cup History

The Melbourne Cup is the biggest and most popular thoroughbred race in Australia and is considered “the race that stops a nation”.

Held on the first Tuesday of November at Flemington, the $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup is the premier staying race in Australia and features among the highest-ranked races anywhere in the world.

It’s the feature race during the Melbourne spring carnival which includes a four-day Cup week carnival. The Melbourne Cup is held on the second day of the carnival in between Derby day (Saturday) and Oaks day (Thursday).

Held over 3200m (two miles) the Melbourne is truly an international contest, so much so that the majority of entrants in the modern day are either bred in Europe, Japan or New Zealand – as opposed to Australia.

What makes the Melbourne Cup even more grand is the atmosphere at Flemington on race day. There is a thrilling vide between the casual punters, the more serious punters and those on track which have never seen a horse in their life.

The Cup brings them all together to enjoy a great race and it’s easily the most money spent on one race in Australia.

Melbourne Cup betting markets

Every bookmaker we recommend has betting on the Melbourne Cup.

Markets open for the Melbourne Cup just hours after the running of the previous edition, so there’s no time lost if punters want to get stuck into the action.

Bookmakers provide an all-in market 12 months out from the race, but offer fixed win, fixed place and a range of exotic bets when the field is narrowed down.

Punters often get great value when betting into Melbourne Cup markets because the betting pools are the biggest of the year. The bigger the betting pool the better odds you will get.

Melbourne Cup betting strategies

Punters never really know what the Melbourne Cup is going to throw at them, but favourite punters have had good success in recent years.

The favourite in the Melbourne Cup doesn’t often pay odds-on – in fact the favouritism usually fluctuates around the $5-$6 mark which is great value.

Because of the extreme staying distance of the race, punters have found that they can put a line through most of the field that won’t see out the distance, making punting on the Cup more appealing to both recreational and professional punters.

Melbourne Cup field

The Melbourne Cup field consists of 24 horses and no emergencies. If a runner is scratched then there is no replacement runner to make up the field.

The field consists of horses that have qualified with various results. Some runners qualify because of their good race record at the top level (wins, prize money etc) and some have to qualify by winning a qualifying race.

The winner of the following races is exempt from ballot into the Melbourne Cup:

Lexus Stakes
Mackinnon Stakes
Cox Plate
Caulfield Cup
Bart Cummings
Doncaster Cup (UK)
Irish St. Leger (UK)
Tenno Sho (Japan)
Sankei Sho All Comers (Japan)
Arlington Million (USA)
San Juan Capistrano Handicap (USA)
Australian Stayers Challenge

When does the Melbourne Cup barrier draw take place?

The Melbourne Cup can be won and lost at the barrier draw so it’s taken very seriously and it concludes at around 5:30pm after the races on Derby Day.

It’s one of the most exciting aspects of Cup week where connections test their luck to see what barrier their runner will jump from.

International horses in the Melbourne Cup

One of the hardest things to figure out when betting the Melbourne Cup is the form of the international horses.

The Cup field has seen everything from New Zealand runners, Japan and even European hurdle jumpers, but they’re all in with a chance.

Punters should follow the betting when it comes to assessing the international runners. Do they have previous form in Australia? Will they handle the temperatures on a hot day in Melbourne?

One thing is for sure – the overseas contingent will see out the distance and that’s always a big positive when investing into this race.

Fashions on the field

We might not be able to bet on the fashion, but it’s an integral part of the Melbourne Cup culture.

The best dressed men and ladies compete for big prizes throughout the Cup carnival and it’s always good to attract the young crowd to the race.

Who are the best Melbourne Cup jockeys?

The best current jockeys to bet on are Damien Oliver and Kerrin McEvoy.

Oliver won the Melbourne Cup in 1995 aboard Doriemus, which was made famous by the recent passing of his brother.

He also won in 2002 when riding Media Puzzle to victory for European trainer Dermot Weld and again in 2013 when giving Gai Waterhouse her first Cup victory with Fiorente.

Kerrin McEvoy still has a baby face, but he won the Cup back in 2000 when riding New Zealand stayer Brew. The Michael Moroney-trained gelding was the lesser-fancied of his stable runners with Second Coming attracting big interest, but Brew caused the upset.

McEvoy was back at it in 2016 with Almandin. The European import gave owner Lloyd Willians yet another Melbourne Cup win in a tight tussle with the aptly-named Heartbreak City.

Who are the best Melbourne Cup trainers?

Robert Hickmott is one of the most successful current trainer in Melbourne Cup history.

The man who doesn’t speak to the media trains for Lloyd Williams and has won two of the last five Melbourne Cup races.

Lee Freedman has won five times – two with Makybe Diva and one with both Doriemus, Subzero and Tawrrific.

Neither trainer has a record like the great Bart Cummings, however, who trained a record of 12 winners, which will most likely never be beaten.

Notable Melbourne Cup records

Makybe Diva is the only horse to have won three Melbourne Cups and she did them consecutively.

The champion mare won in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and is considered one of the greatest champions of the Australian turf.

There have been four thoroughbreds to win the Cup on two occasions. Think Big (1974, 75), Rain Lover (1968, 69), Peter Pan (1932, 34) and Archer (1861, 62).

The quickest race time was recorded by Kingston Rule in 1990 when it ran 3.16.30 and the biggest winning margin was from Archer and Rain Lover which scorched the field by eight lengths.

Four horses have won at triple figure odds, with the most recent coming in 2015 when female jockey Michelle Payne won aboard Prince of Penzance.

The shortest priced winner was Phar Lap which won in 1930 paying $1.73.

Daryl Curnow
About the Author: Daryl Curnow

After graduating from the University of Auckland (BA – English), Daryl was thrown into the world of sports and horse racing journalism.
Having worked as a racing journalist for two years, he decided to move into the online world of horse racing and sports writing. Coupled with his love of US sport, Daryl’s picks have been featured on various websites around the world and viewed by millions of readers. After years of honing his craft, Daryl became a professional punter in 2009 – with a focus on horse racing, NBA, NFL, and college sports. When he’s not working, Daryl tries to avoid making bogeys on the golf course.

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