Melbourne Cup Trainers: Who to Watch
Melbourne Cup trainers are often left in the background of their star horses, but they are an essential part of every race. Behind every successful Melbourne cup horse are years of training with an equally successful trainer. For any horse to be successful and reach its full potential, there needs to be guidance. That is why we will take a look at some of the notable Melbourne Cup trainers in 2021.
|Aidan O’Brien||TIGER MOTH|
|Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||SIR DRAGONET|
You should have in mind that the horse list can change before the race.
Who are the top Melbourne Cup trainers?
If there is one trainer to watch this year, it’s Charlie Appleby. Appleby won the 2018 Melbourne Cup with Cross Counter. Cross Counter could be back at the race again this year after he missed the 2020 edition. But even if Cross Counter doesn’t succeed, Appleby still has another three of his Melbourne Cup horses among the favourites this year: Ispolini, Ghaiyyath and Ghostwatch.
In his prolific career, Charlie Appleby has recorded over 600 wins, which makes him one of the most successful Melbourne Cup trainers. In 2018 he won his third International Trainer of the Year award. Some of his major wins include the Epson Derby with Masar (2018), Middle Park Stakes with Charming Thought (2014), Nassau Stakes with Wild Illusion (2018), Prix de l’Opéra with Wild Illusion (2018), Sydney Cup with Polarisation (2017), and Natalma Stakes with La Pelosa (2018) to name a few.
A rising star of the horse race training world, Ireland’s Joseph O’Brien is well on his way to becoming one of the most successful trainers. Having retired from his successful jockey career in 2016 to focus on training, at 26, he has already had some major wins. The crown jewel being his historic 2017 Melbourne Cup win with Rekindling. This win made him the youngest among Melbourne Cup trainers to have ever won at Flemington Park. He also trains last year’s Melbourne Cup winner, Twilight Payment. Could this year see a back to back win for this horse and trainer racing duo?
Some of his other major wins as a trainer include the Irish Derby with Latrobe (2018), Moyglare Stud Stakes with Intricately (2016), Irish Gold Cup with Edwulf (2018), Racing Post Novice Chase with Le Richebourg (2018) and Fillies’ Mile with Iridessa (2018). It is safe to say that there is a bright future ahead of him, and we are excited to be along for the ride. It remains to be seen if he will manage to train one or more winning Melbourne Cup horses.
A former Melbourne AFL player, Robert Hickmott has had a very successful racehorse training career. So far, he has had two impressive Melbourne Cup victories, which already makes him one of the more successful Melbourne Cup trainers. The first win was in 2012 with Green Moon, who then moved on to also win the Turnbull Stakes. The second horse trained by Hickmott, Almandin, won the Melbourne Cup in 2016. Earlier in his racehorse training career, Hickmott was heavily involved in training Efficient, who ended up winning the 2007 Melbourne Cup. However, officially, the Efficient was trained by Graeme Rogerson.
In 2019, Hickmott-trained Schabau was one of the top Melbourne Cup Horses predicted to win the race. Unfortunately, due to a disappointing tendon injury, Schabau missed the spring season and returned in winter 2020. However, Hickmott has already proved he can successfully deal with injuries, after successfully overcoming Almandin’s injury that has kept him off the racecourse for two years, before winning the 2016 Melbourne Cup.
A true legend among Melbourne Cup trainers and a Hall of Fame inductee, David Lee Freedman has won the cup a staggering five times. He is the trainer responsible for two of the three wins in Makybe Diva’s incredible streak. Freedman’s 1989 Melbourne Cup win with Tawrrific marked a significant point in his career, making the 90s his most prolific decade.
During the 90s, Freedman trained several very successful horses, including the 1992 Melbourne Cup winner Subzero, as well as Doriemus, who won both the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup in 1995.
In 2004, Freedman took over training Makybe Diva from David Hall and turned him into his greatest training achievement. Under Freedman, the former Melbourne Cup winner, Makybe Diva managed another two times, for a total of three consecutive Melbourne Cup wins. The wins were unprecedented in the tournament’s 150 long histories and made “The Diva” one of the most successful Melbourne Cup horses. They also made Freedman one of the most successful Melbourne Cup trainers. Following a gradual decline in success, Lee Freedman ultimately retired from training in 2011. However, in November 2014, he announced his return to training and continues to successfully train horses to date.
Confirmed Melbourne Cup Trainers 2021
We will update this article with the confirmed list of trainers whose horses will be racing in the Melbourne Cup come November.
Confirmed Melbourne Cup Trainers 2020
|Charlie Fellows||Prince of Arran||1|
|Aidan O’Brien||Anthony Van Dyck||3|
|Danny O’Brien||Vow And Declare||4|
|Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman||The Chosen One||5|
|Paul Preusker||Surprise Baby||7|
|Anthony & Sam Freedman||Warning||8|
|Willie Mullins||Stratum Albion||9|
|Joseph O’Brien||Master of Reality||11|
|Joseph O’Brien||Twilight Payment||12|
|Danny O’Brien||Miami Bound||13|
|Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Sir Dragonet||14|
|Chris Waller||Verry Elleegant||15|
|Danny O’Brien||Russian Camelot||16|
|Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Oceanex||17|
|Danny O’Brien||King of Leogrance||18|
|Andrew Balding||Dashing Willoughby||19|
|Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Persan||20|
|Anthony & Sam Freedman||Steel Princ||21|
|Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Etah James||22|
|Aidan O’Brien||Tiger Moth||23|
Winning Trainers of the Last 20 Years
In the table below you will find the trainers who have been behind the winning horses of the last 20 years.
|2020||Joseph O’Brien||Twilight Payment||55.5kg||8|
|2019||Danny O’Brien||Vow And Declare||52kg||4|
|2018||Charlie Appleby||Cross Counter||51kg||4|
|2015||Darren Weir||Prince of Penzance||53kg||6|
|2012||Rob Hickmott||Green Moon||53.5kg||6|
|2010||Alain De Royer-Dupre||Americain||54.5kg||6|
|2006||Katsuhiko Sumii||Delta Blues||56kg||6|
|2005||Lee Freedman||Makybe Diva||58kg||7|
|2004||Lee Freedman||Makybe Diva||55.5kg||6|
|2003||David Hall||Makybe Diva||51kg||5|
|2002||Dermot Weld||Media Puzzle||52.5kg||6|
The Most Successful Melbourne Cup Trainers
While there are many trainers who have seen many Melbourne Cup successes, it is Bart Cummings who has won the most Melbourne Cups in his career with 12 wins. This incredibly well-respected trainer trained the horses who won the 1965, 1966, 1967, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1990, 1991, 1996, 1999 and 2008 editions of the Melbourne Cup.
The trainers who come in joint-second for the most wins are Etienne de Mestre and Lee Freedman, with five winners each. De Mestre led Archer, ridden by jockey John Cutts, to success in the inaugural Melbourne Cup in 1861, and then went on to have success with horses he trained in 1862, 1867, 1877 and 1878. Horses trained by Freedman won this high-stakes horse racing event in 1989, 1992, 1995, 2004 and 2005.
Female Melbourne Cup Trainers
Although the world of horse racing tends to be a bit of a boys club, some female trainers have had incredible success in the industry. However, at present, the only female trainer whose horse has won the Melbourne Cup is New Zealand / Australian trainer Sheila Laxon. She trained Ethereal who won the race with a time of 3:21.08.
How much does the trainer win at the Melbourne Cup?
Melbourne Cup horse trainers are entitled to 10% of the winnings. This meant that last year when the total prize money for first place was $4,400,000, the trainer received $440,000.
How many Melbourne Cups has trainer Chris Waller won?
Despite his horses often doing very well in the race, Chris Waller is yet to have any of them go on to win any Melbourne Cup races.
Who came last in Melbourne Cup 2020?
Avilius, trained by James Cummings and ridden by John Allen, didn’t do very well on the day and came last in the 2020 edition of the Melbourne Cup.
Who is running in the Melbourne Cup 2021?
The confirmed list of horses racing in this year’s Melbourne Cup is currently still unknown. We will find out about each competing horse, jockey and trainer closer to race day in November. Additionally, we will find out the final field – including which barrier each horse will be racing from – when it is drawn in October.