2021 Melbourne Cup Form Guide with Anthony Cummings

Anthony Cummings is a third-generation Group 1 winning trainer and the son of “Cup’s king” Bart Cummings, who began training in 1991. He gives his unique insight into the 2021 Melbourne Cup form guide and full field.

1. TWILIGHT PAYMENT (Barrier 2) 58kg

Trainer: Joseph O’Brien
Jockey: Jye McNeil
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 12.00/ 3.20

While a nine-year-old, he’s maintained his form through the year so age shall not weary him and his form is easily good enough to be competitive in this year’s race. There looks to be a lot more pressure coming out of the straight for the first time than last year, and it might be harder for him to do it all the way as he did then.

2. INCENTIVISE (16) 57kg

Trainer: Peter Moody
Jockey: Brett Prebble
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 2.80/ 1.40

Weight stops trains as we always say, and there’s only been one winner carry 57kgs or more in the last 40 years, but the key question for him here is does he stay the 3200m?

If he stays, he probably wins. But then we have to think about the Caulfield Cup on a very shifty track, some horses didn’t like it, a lot of horses raced poorly that day while Incentivise raced to his usual best and has the picket fence to prove it. If you take it on trust that he stays the trip, then he’s the horse that should be the winner.

In terms of his odds, Let’s Elope was the best thing I’ve seen in a Melbourne Cup and she was $3, so to say he’s a better thing than her is a big statement.

It will be great for Australian racing if he can win, it will be become like the Cup of old in some ways, not from overseas. That’s what the Cup used to be about, anyone from anywhere had the potential to win it simply by being in a horse. The Cup has lost that a bit in recent years, but a win by a horse like Incentivise would reinvigorate that view and perhaps become the people’s race once again.

3. SPANISH MISSION (14) 57kg

Trainer: Andrew Balding
Jockey: Craig Williams
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 9.50/ 2.70

He’s got some of the best-staying form in the world, and we don’t often get that here. And while there might not be much depth in this race, the horses at the top like Spanish Mission have absolutely earned their way. He’s hard to go past, and as an international he’s had to pass more tests than a kid doing their HSC to get into the race! So the ones that are here are going to race well.

I think he’s going to slot in nicely from barrier 14 given the pressure up front and he has to be one of the main chances. There are some horses you just can’t leave out of trifectas and first fours, and he is certainly one of them.

4. VERRY ELLEEGANT (19) 57kg

Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: James McDonald
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 15.00/ 3.90

Her Cox Plate run looked very much like a Melbourne Cup trial, more than we’ve perhaps seen from her in the last year. Her other runs this prep have all been very solid, her win in the George Main was good and we saw that form stand up in the Epsom. She’s safe to assess as being at her best and gets out to a trip that on pedigree she should be quite comfortable with. Plainly her very best form is on the wet, but she’s still very effective on top of the ground and regardless of track condition she’s too good to ignore.

5. EXPLOSIVE JACK (4) 54kg

Trainer: Ciaron Maher, David Eustace
Jockey: John Allen
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 41.00/ 9.00

His two runs before the Caulfield Cup weren’t bad, five lengths away in the Makybe Diva and three lengths off the winner in the Turnbull. Typically, that’s good form going into a Melbourne Cup. But then from his poor Caulfield Cup, he would need to produce a huge turnaround. I’d be willing to overlook him in this race.

6. THE CHOSEN ONE (5) 54kg

Trainer: Murray Baker, Andrew Forsman
Jockey: Damian Lane
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 41.00/ 9.00

Fourth in this last year, but he was racing better before that attempt at the Cup than he is this time. His Caulfield Cup 14th screams that, compared to third in that race last year. When he was racing at his best he found it tough, and I don’t think he’s going to find it any easier this year. He’s there to run well, and he could finish in the top five again, but I’d surprised if he could do much better than that.

7. DELPHI (3) 53.5kg

Trainer: Anthony and Sam Freedman
Jockey: Damien Oliver
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 21.00/ 5.00

I don’t think he can turn the tables on Incentivise from that Caulfield Cup. Oliver has stuck with him, which is a positive, given he’s in the form of his life. So maybe he can make something happen, and barrier three gives him a soft time of it early in the race, unlike at Caulfield where he had to work to get over.
Then we look back at the Herbert Power, beating The Chosen One, is that the right form now? But at least his form leading into Caulfield was consistent, he has a pedigree that will see him stay the trip without issue, so he’s a first five chance.

8. OCEAN BILLY (13) 53.5kg

Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Damien Thornton
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 101.00/ 21.00

With New Zealand staying form, they need to get to Australia to prove their worth to be considered a worthwhile chance in the Cup. Midfield in the Caulfield Cup just doesn’t get you there.

9. SELINO (24) 53.5kg

Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Ron Stewart
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 67.00/ 14.00

The Sydney Cup form (which he won) is probably a bit suspicious for the Melbourne Cup this year – it wasn’t a strong edition, and he only beat a couple home at Caulfield last start. Ran well in the Bart Cummings, and I give the winner of that hope (Grand Promenade), but I’m not sure about those that finished behind him.

10. JOHNNY GET ANGRY (22) 53kg

Trainer: Denis Pagan
Jockey: Lachlan King
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 151.00/ 31.00

His VRC Derby win was a surprise, and it would be the same for this. It would take a major form turnaround for him to be competitive. Denis Pagan might need to kick a miracle goal after the siren to get him home!

11. KNIGHTS ORDER (9) 53kg

Trainer: Gai Waterhouse, Adrian Bott
Jockey: Daniel Stackhouse
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 151.00/ 31.00

He’s run some even races in the lead-up, but would need the right run and at least has depth in his pedigree to help him find the line. There are better prospects.

12. PERSAN (11) 53kg

Trainer: Ciaron Maher, David Eustace
Jockey: Luke Currie
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 31.00/ 7.00

In the event that Incentive doesn’t stay, and we know this guy does after a fifth in the Melbourne Cup last year, there’s a chance for him to be there at the pointy end of things. He’ll be on speed so gives himself a chance, and if the race is run to suit, his prospects will improve as they go through the race. He’ll make his own luck and be one of the contenders.

13. CARIF (8) 52.5kg

Trainer: Peter and Paul Snowden
Jockey: Blaike McDougall
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 201.00/ 41.00

His best form at 3200m is a rung below Melbourne Cup form. It’s a great result for Think Big Stud to have another runner in the race, they’ve been such great supporters of the race, and there would be no worthier winner than these connections, but it is hard to see it happening given the opposition.

14. MASTER OF WINE (6) 52.5kg

Trainer: Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes
Jockey: Fred Kersley
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 101.00/ 21.00

Again, the question is how critical we should be of horses that struggled in the Caulfield Cup on that shifting ground. His run in the Bart Cummings wasn’t bad, but the runs before that it was hard to get too warmed up about him.

15. PONDUS (1) 52.5kg

Trainer: Robert Hickmott
Jockey: Rachel King
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 26.00/ 6.00

Another horse with form from the Bart Cummings. I can forgive him for being soft at the finish in his last two, given they would have expected those runs to bring him on. The thing with Lloyd Williams and his team, they always have a very keen sense of timing, and their horses improve on the day. His form before the Bart Cummings was reasonable, and I respect what this camp do, but I’m hard-pressed to see him being one of the major chances.

16. GRAND PROMENADE (21) 52kg

Trainer: Ciaron Maher, David Eustace
Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 16.00/ 4.00

His Bart Cummings win was good, he looks a big strong horse with a nice big stride. He’ll race about six lengths off the lead, which should be a great spot if he can get in. So from the wide barrier, the initial run down the straight is going to be quite important. Kerrin McEvoy knows Flemington like the back of his hand, so he’ll find his way through. He’s going to be very competitive.

17. MIAMI BOUND (17) 52kg

Trainer: Danny O’Brien
Jockey: Patrick Moloney
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 151.00 / 31.00

Recent form makes it tough for her, getting beaten quite a way by horses that are no good thing in this race. You’d like to think she can get back to her right form, but on present form she can’t be one of the picks.

18. PORT GUILLAUME (23) 52kg

Trainer: Ben and JD Hayes
Jockey: Harry Coffey
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 151.00/ 31.00

He showed good finishing speed at the end of a testing mile and a half at Caulfield, so you can respect that and put him in some of the exotics at 100-1. Hard pressed to see him win though.

19. SHE’S IDEEL (20) 52kg

Trainer: Bjorn Baker
Jockey: Craig Newitt
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 101.00/ 21.00

I don’t mind this mare, I think she’s one of the lightweight chances. She’s been around for a while, but just keeps performing, always turning up and running good races. I respect her durability, which can be important at the end of 3200m, so I can give her a bolters chance.

20. FUTURE SCORE (15) 51.5kg

Trainer: Matt Cumani
Jockey: Dean Yendall
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 201.00/ 41.00

He’s run some nice races in staying trips at Flemington, and on his best form he’d be a top five or six chance, but whether he’s at that level right now is tough to say.

21. TRALEE ROSE (12) 51kg

Trainer: Symon Wilde
Jockey: Dean Holland
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 17.00/ 4.20

Her Geelong Cup win was good, and generally speaking horses that run well there run well in the main event. Her Bart Cummings second was a decent run, and all the races she’s run in this campaign are typically good guides to the Melbourne Cup. You have to consider her one of the chances. She was $1.85 favourite in the Adelaide Cup, so there was confidence in the market to say she can run the two miles out. Her recent form makes her failure to win that race less relevant.
Looking at the likes of Tralee Rose and Grand Promenade, they haven’t met Incentivise yet, and they have staying pedigrees, while he has a sharper one. There is no risk in their pedigree in terms of staying a trip, but there is some risk in Incentivise.

22. FLOATING ARTIST (10) 50kg

Trainer: Ciaron Maher, David Eustace
Jockey: Teodore Nugent
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 13.00/ 3.50

This horse could be a winning threat. His Coongy run was okay, his run at Moonee Valley was okay. If he’s still on the upward spiral, which is the picture being painted, he’s a chance at odds.

23. GREAT HOUSE (7) 50kg

Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockey: Michael Dee
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 21.00/ 5.00

His Caulfield Cup run was a pass mark, and his win in the Hotham on Derby Day was very good. The further they got into the race, the better he stretched out there. That race typically has a good record into the Cup, so I think he goes there as a good first three chance.

24. SIR LUCAN (18) 50kg

Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
Jockey: Glen Boss
PlayUp Odds Win/Place: 26.00/ 6.00

He’s hard to judge not having seen much of him, but he’s been running in decent races overseas and hasn’t been embarrassed in any of them. You have to respect northern hemisphere three-year-old form too. He might be under the odds on the tote with Glen Boss on board, but then he could be overs because he might be a better chance than what we can see on paper.

The verdict

There are quite a few horses on-speed that should make it a reasonably run race. Twilight Payment is going to be on speed, Incentivise is on speed, Spanish Mission not far away. Persan races on speed, Carif often does. There’s going to be some pressure out of the straight the first time.

I do think 6-8 lengths off the lead is going to be the golden spot, if not even a bit further off. When they come out of the first turn, see who’s back in that area, and there’ll be three or four horses that almost certainly become the main winning chances.

There is some doubt about whether Incentivise stays, but his picket fence of wins is a great recommendation to put him on top. Spanish Mission and Twilight Payment bring the best international form. And Great House was strong late winning the Hotham on Saturday.

My Tips: 1. Incentivise 2. Spanish Mission 3. Great House 4. Twilight Payment

The above markets are all correct at time of first publication. To see latest markets and place all your Cup bets visit PlayUp.


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