Racing Victoria (RV) has announced the much-anticipated list of weights for the 124 horses remaining in the race for this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup.
The Victoria Racing Club’s (VRC) flagship race has again attracted strong local and international interest including 2020 Lexus Melbourne Cup winner Twilight Payment who will carry the top weight of 58kg.
Only five horses have carried 55kg or more since 2000 to win the Lexus Melbourne Cup, including Twilight Payment last year with 55.5kg. The others were Makybe Diva (2004, 2005), Delta Blues (2006), Fiorente (2013) and Protectionist (2014).
RV Executive General Manger Racing Greg Carpenter revealed that Australia’s champion mare Verry Elleegant has received 57kg in her second attempt at Australia’s greatest race.
Much interest lies in Incentivise, who impressed racing fans when winning the Group 1 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on Saturday. He has been allocated 55.5kg in the ‘the race that stops a nation’™.
Other horses to produce eye-catching runs on Saturday at Flemington include last year’s Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet who has been allocated 57.5kg after finishing sixth in the Lexus Melbourne Cup last year and his stablemate Persan (53kg) who ran fifth in last year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup.
Leading overseas contenders still in the running for the world’s richest handicap include one of Europe’s best stayers Spanish Mission (57kg), Group 1 placegetter Away He Goes (54.5kg) and last year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup winner Twilight Payment (58kg).
VRC Executive General Manager Racing Leigh Jordon said the weights announcement helps to further shape the 2021 Lexus Melbourne Cup picture.
“The weights announcement is an important milestone on the road to the Cup for connections because it determines whether a horse is safely assured a place in the Lexus Melbourne Cup field or if they still need to earn their way in,” Mr Jordon said.
“At the top of the list is last year’s champion Twilight Payment, who is arguably in better form than last year after running second to Sonnyboyliston in the Group 1 Irish St Leger on Sunday.”
One ballot exempt race has been run with The Andrew Ramsden winner Realm of Flowers (51kg) assured of her place in the Lexus Melbourne Cup and Mr Jordon said there would be another opportunity for a golden ticket into the Cup at Flemington on TAB Turnbull Stakes Day.
“The next opportunity for Australian-trained horses to win their way into the Lexus Melbourne Cup is via The Lexus Bart Cummings on TAB Turnbull Stakes Day, Saturday 2 October, at Flemington and it’s going to be a highly competitive race with progressive horses such as Tooradin and Tralee Rose set to clash.”
The remaining Lexus Melbourne Cup ballot exempt races are the Caulfield Cup on 16 October, the Cox Plate on 23 October and the Lexus Hotham Stakes on 30 October.
Second declarations for the Lexus Melbourne Cup must be submitted by noon on Tuesday 28 September.
The Lexus Melbourne Cup will be run on Tuesday 2 November as part of the iconic Melbourne Cup Carnival which begins with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 30 October and also features Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 4 November and Mackinnon Stakes Day on Saturday 6 November.
All the action from the 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival can be seen free to air on Network 10.