The Melbourne Cup is arguably Australia’s biggest horse race. A Group 1 race, it is held over a distance of 3,200 metres, with a prize pot of $7,750,000. Some of the most famous horses in the world have won the event, from Tiger Moth to Makybe Diva. This year’s field is packed with possible contenders, but a recent flurry of withdrawals has opened the field. Below, we go through the favourites for this year’s competition.
Looking at the bookmaker sites featured on aussiebet.com, bet365 are offering odds on this year’s event Down Under. At a glance, the favourite to get the victory is Deauville Legend, priced at 11/4. One of the favourites was Loft, but after injuring a tendon and pulling out, one horse is now taking most of the money.
This four-year-old bay gelding has come all the way from Newmarket and is trained by James Ferguson. Rider Kerrin McEvoy has given him a few rides out since they arrived in Australia, most notably at Werribee. Kerrin himself has ridden three Melbourne Cup winners before, so knows what a horse needs to stay the course.
Ferguson has noted that the horse has travelled well without missing a beat. His current form comes off the back of several first and second placings in the UK, including races at York, Goodwood, and Royal Ascot. However, the high price has led some punters to look elsewhere, most notably because the horse has yet to win a Group One race.
Without a Fight
Without a Fight is trained by Ed Crisford and his father Simon. Simon himself has brought many horses to the Melbourne Cup, including the 2001 winner Give the Slip. The pair have noted that the horse had a lot of work to do after the end of last year to be a potential winner, though he has stepped up to the plate delivering by the bucketload. He ran second to Hukum, a Group One winner at Epsom last March and has so far won two listed races and placed in a Group Three.
An older horse at five years, he has travelled well in the past. He will be ridden by William Buick. No stranger to the cup, he has ridden in it four times with his best place being sixth position in 2011.
As the son of Teofilo, cup-winning is in his blood. Cross Counter and Twilight Payments, winners in 2018 and 2020 are also family members. If there are any concerns, it may be that he did have a lacklustre outing in a Grade 1 race at Meydan.
Montefilia is one to watch as it seems her form does not truly reflect her ability. Trainer David Payne has been patient in readying this five-year-old for the big race. She could have entered last year but was instead sent to the paddock after a fourth at Caulfield. She repeated the same feat this year but looked altogether more confident and rested.
With only 22 career starts, the horse has also had few runs for its five-year-old age. Yet from this, it has made six wins, four of which were Group Ones. This gives her a distinct advantage over other horses above her in the betting. Her pedigree is one to behold, which has produced three Melbourne Cup winners in the form of Fiorente, Protectionist and Almandin on her mother’s side. The father, Kermadec, also sired European champion Teofilo. If there are any questions to be had about her performance, it may be that she has only ever run 2,400m. However, her breeding shows she should be able to stay the length.