Melbourne Cup 2021
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The Melbourne Cup 2021 will once again be one of the biggest events in world horse racing.
On Tuesday, November 2nd, this amazing Group 1 horse race in Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, 3.200-metre event will feature 24 horses chasing a huge $8 million in prize money.
Known in Australia as The Race That Stops a Nation, the Melbourne Cup is unparalleled, and we have all the information you need.
Melbourne Cup 2021 Timeline
All year, the build-up to the Melbourne Cup continues. Many of the potential runners are listed primarily on reputation at this point, however. From late August, things become more official as we see what horses are actually nominated for the big race on November 2nd.
When Are Melbourne Cup Nominations Announced?
Initial Melbourne Cup 2021 nominations will be announced on Thursday, August 26th. After that, they are updated weekly as connections decide whether or not to continue with their challenge for the race.
When weights are allocated in early September, each owner pays at four acceptance times between then and October 30th. First acceptance is $960, second is $1,450, third is set at $2,420. Then, if finally accepting three days before the event, connections pay a further acceptance fee of $45,375.
When is the Melbourne Cup Barrier Draw?
The final Melbourne Cup 2021 field is announced at 7.30pm on Saturday, October 30th. At this point, the barrier draw is made which will then begin to affect betting on the race. Click here to learn more about Melbourne Cup betting.
Melbourne Cup History
A member of the Victorian Turf Club, Frederick Standish, was credited with creating the idea of a Melbourne Cup race. He was even a steward on race day when the first event happened back on Thursday, November 7th, 1861 (find out more information about the Melbourne Cup history)
At that time, the race was a winner takes all event. The winning connections received 710 gold sovereigns and a gold watch! Since then, the prize money has increased along with the race’s popularity, with the event now worth some $8 million.
Over the years, there have been some very memorable moments, such as:
- Phar Lap – a great horse, Phar Lap was shot at by gangsters before taking part in the 1930 race. He still went on to win!
- Vintage Crop – in 1993, the picture was changed forever. Dermot Weld trained Vintage Crop to become the first northern hemisphere winner of the Melbourne Cup.
- Makybe Diva – in 2005, the great mare became the first horse to win three Melbourne Cups on the spin.
- Bart Cummings’ Dozen – despite in 2008 his horse Viewed being relatively unfancied, Bart Cummings won the Melbourne Cup for an incredible 12th time as a trainer – a record that may never be beaten.
- Michelle Payne – in 2015, jockey Michelle Payne became the first female to ride the winner of the Cup. A landmark moment (click here for more information about the Melbourne Cup jockeys).
Melbourne Cup Carnival History
The Melbourne Cup was moved to a Tuesday for the first time in 1875. After that, it moved to a four-day format and later into the Carnival we now know and love. No longer can a race of this magnitude highlight a one-day meeting.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival takes place over an entire week and is supported internationally by some of the best horses on the planet.
Flemington Racecourse History
Originally opened in 1840, Flemington grew in popularity as a track from the off. It was leased to the Victoria Turf Club in 1848, which then merged with the Victoria Jockey Club in 1864 to form what we know today as the Victoria Racing Club, responsible for the track and its great races.
Since those days, owners and organisers have increased, extended and improved the track and the facilities. Nowadays, the pear-shaped track is the envy of the world.
Despite 4000 people attending the first Melbourne Cup here, Flemington now has a capacity of some 120.000. The track is now part of the official Australian National Heritage List.
Qualifying for the Melbourne Cup
Only certain horses are allowed to take part in the Melbourne Cup 2021 (click here for more information about the Melbourne Cup horses)
As the Melbourne Cup 2021 will be oversubscribed, as usual, a ballot has to take place. Around 300-400 nominees will be whittled down to 24 on race day, helped by some events being ballot-exemption races.
What Are Some of the Melbourne Cup Qualifying Races?
Ballot-exemption races are much like the “win and you’re in” events for the Breeders’ Cup in America. Any horse winning a certain race will get automatic qualification to the Melbourne Cup.
Those races are; The Andrew Ramsden (May 15th), The Bart Cummings (October 2nd), The Caulfield Cup (October 16th), The Cox Plate (October 23rd) and The Lexus Stakes (October 30th).
What Criteria Must Be Met for Horses to Qualify for the Melbourne Cup?
Only those aged three and over can run in the Melbourne Cup. As long as a horse over this age is considered good enough and has enough stamina, they may run if not balloted out when the handicap weights are announced.
Aside from weight and age, certain veterinary procedures are maintained, too, especially for those challenging from overseas. Some of these conditions are set to change for the 2021 running.
Recent Changes to the Melbourne Cup
Owing to past problems, changes have been made to regulations for the Melbourne Cup from this year. They particularly pertain to horse welfare, more specifically regarding those travelling a long way from Europe. Some of the major changes include:
- Horses having suffered major fractures previously are excluded.
- International horses are to undergo full-body scans.
- Additional veterinary checks are to take place within a week of arriving in quarantine.
- Racing Victoria vets are to oversee and provide clinical service.
- International horses must undergo CT scans of limbs before every race.
The latter point is a bone of contention with European trainers (more information about the Melbourne Cup trainers). The CT scans can be invasive and are usually only done when a horse has been injured, and a detailed picture is needed of the bones and muscles. This may result in fewer overseas horses taking part.
Other Races During the Melbourne Cup Carnival
The Victoria Racing Club runs the week-long Melbourne Cup Carnival. The big race is just one of many Group 1 events taking place between October 30th and November 6th.
These are the highlight races that surround the Melbourne Cup 2021:
Victoria Derby Day kicks us off on Saturday, October 30th. This $2 million, 2.500-metre race is for the three-year-olds and takes centre-stage on a beautiful afternoon of racing. Four Group 1’s are run in total on the opening day of the Carnival.
Coolmore Stud Stakes
Also run on day 1, the Coolmore Stud Stakes is one of the top sprints in the world. Staged over Flemington’s 1.200 metres, this Group 1 event has been won by the likes of Sepoy in the past and carries a $1.5 million purse.
The fillies’ equivalent to the Victoria Derby, the Kennedy Oaks is run on Thursday, November 4th, two days after the Melbourne Cup. A top-class card backs up the million-dollar event.
Rounding off the Carnival on Saturday, November 6th is Mackinnon Stakes Day. Billed as a celebration of the week that’s just been, this is no afterthought. The main race is, of course, the Mackinnon Stakes, a $2m race over the 2.000-metre trip. Naturally, it is run at Group 1 level.
Melbourne Cup Fashion
As is the case with Royal Ascot or the Kentucky Derby, fashion is now synonymous with the Melbourne Cup. Finding the right suit or dress is a crucial part of the day at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November. It’s not all about having a bet!
There is a code at the track too. Men are expected to wear a tailored suit, smart shoes and a tie. For the ladies, picking the right outfit is even more important.
No playsuits or jumpsuits are permitted. You can’t show off your midriff either. Shorts are not allowed; instead, ladies are expected to dress in keeping with the code within the Members Enclosure. Beautiful dresses and hats are the order of the day for the race that stops a nation.
Melbourne Cup Tickets
Melbourne Cup tickets are often like gold dust, especially with a potentially reduced capacity at the track.
When Do Melbourne Cup 2021 Tickets Go on Sale?
Tickets are already on sale in some places for the Melbourne Cup. However, a final decision on the number allowed in to see the great race is yet to be made. If a full capacity is allowed, more tickets will go on sale later in the year.
Where Can You Buy Melbourne Cup Tickets Online?
The best way to buy tickets online is straight from the Flemington Racecourse site at Flemington.com.au. This year, no tickets will be available to buy at the gate.
Other vendors are also offering tickets, mainly for package deals. Be sure to check out how legitimate they are before you buy.
You could be hitting some pretty warm weather if you head to Melbourne in November, so always prepare for that. Despite the city’s rich sporting heritage, there is far more to do than simply head to the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The National Gallery of Victoria and the Royal Botanic Gardens are a must-see for visitors. You can head out to the Dandenong Ranges National Park for a hike or get stuck into some deals at Queen Victoria Market.
The most important thing, especially if you’re coming from overseas, is to check on the entry requirements for Victoria and for Australia as a whole.
All of your important questions answered about the Melbourne Cup 2021.
How much is the entry fee for the Melbourne Cup?
The race has an initial entry fee of $600 for all horses. Up to 400 are nominated each year, to be shrunk down to the safety limit of 24 on the day.
How can I bet on the Melbourne Cup?
All good online bookmakers run odds on the VRC Melbourne Cup. Click here to have more information about the Melbourne Cup odds.
Is Melbourne Cup Day a public holiday?
Melbourne Cup Day is a public holiday in Victoria. Work in many other areas, however, comes to a halt when the event takes place.
When is the Melbourne Cup 2021?
The Melbourne Cup 2021 will be run on Tuesday, November 2nd, at 3 pm local time.
Can you watch the Melbourne Cup abroad?
Yes. Many countries show the Melbourne Cup live. You can also watch via the internet.
Is the Melbourne Cup on TV?
Yes. Channel 10 is the main provider of coverage for the Melbourne Cup 2021.
Who won last year’s Melbourne Cup?
Twilight Payment, trained by Joseph O’Brien and ridden by Jye McNeil, won the 2020 Melbourne Cup.
When does Melbourne Cup betting commence?
Most online bookmakers already have advance odds displayed for the Melbourne Cup 2021. Melbourne Cup betting reaches new levels after the final field and the final barrier draw are announced.
Where can I find Melbourne Cup tips?
We have some of the best information you need right here! When Channel 10’s coverage starts, they too have some great information provided by their crew of experts at the track.