We’re just three and a half months out from what will be a fabulous Melbourne Cup.
There’s sure to be plenty of big news before then. Gains and losses in form, pull-outs, new contenders and major betting changes.
One of the key things to keep tabs on however are the contenders themselves and there is a key way to know which ones truly stand a chance on November 1 (check the Melbourne Cup betting odds).
Top Melbourne Cup Lead Up Races
We get news from various trainers, owners and punters who all make their feelings known about who the top contenders are for the Cup. As do we of course.
One of the biggest clues each year is the result of certain lead up races.
As it’s better to be forewarned, we take a look in reverse order at the top lead up races for this year’s Cup to mark your card about what results to keep a firm eye on.
This year’s Caulfield Cup is hosted on Saturday, October 15. The $5 million, 2400-metre event featured Vow And Declare in 2019. He finished second at Caulfield but went on to win the Melbourne Cup.
The race distance and value make this one of the top races in Australia in its own right, as well as an obvious stopping point for some of the top Cup hopefuls.
Run on Wednesday, October 19, the Geelong Cup is not as valuable as the Caulfield Cup. Once again, a 2400m event, this one is worth $400,000 which is still a good pot. Runners coming here may just go under the radar a little.
Moonee Valley Gold Cup
There are two major races to look out for on the same date; Saturday, October 22. The Moonee Valley Gold Cup is worth a million bucks and is run over 2500 metres. A key trial indeed.
On the same day, the $5 million Cox Plate over 2040 metres is run at Moonee Valley. Those quick enough to handle this distance can take part in Australia’s championship weight-for-age race before heading across to Flemington.
The St Leger and Irish St Leger are huge. The former featured Rekindling in 2017 and the latter 2020 Cup winner Twilight Payment. As the European horses maybe need more time to incorporate travelling, it’s best to look early.
As soon as August, look out for York’s Ebor Festival. The Ebor Handicap is already well known as a bona fide Melbourne Cup trial, while the Lonsdale Cup (Group 2) is a classy staying race too.
It’s worth mentioning that at the same meeting, Cup winner Cross Counter ran in the Great Voltigeur over 2400 metres there meaning there are a trio of lead up races to watch carefully in Yorkshire.
Read more news about the Melbourne Cup.