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Melbourne Cup 2021: Horses, time, what time is the race?


Two Melbourne Cup runners find themselves in a battle to prove their fitness on race-day morning, with a possible scenario leaving one of our greatest ever jockeys without a ride.

Two Melbourne Cup runners will need to pass race morning inspections before they are allowed to run in Tuesday’s Flemington showpiece.

Delphi and Future Score will undergo veterinary examinations before the final scratching time of 7.30am on Tuesday.

The well supported Delphi will be re-examined after Racing Victoria vets advised the Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained stayer presented with signs of lameness in his left foreleg.

What time? THE MELBOURNE CUP IS RUN AT 3PM AEDT

Vets will also examine Matt Cumani’s runner Future Score after the stayer presented with lameness in his right foreleg.

Delphi hasn’t raced since finishing 13th to Incentivise in the Caulfield Cup on October 16.

Future Score last competed when midfield in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup on October 23.

Future Score has attracted minimal betting interest with TAB, but Delphi has been a significant mover in betting since Saturday’s barrier draw.

Delphi has firmed from $34 to $19 in the last 48 hours with solid each-way money emerging for the Herbert Power Stakes winner.

Champion jockey Damien Oliver is booked to ride Delphi while Dean Yendall will be aboard Future Score if he takes his place in the Melbourne Cup.

Cup disaster zone: ‘Never seen anything like it’

Flemington resembled a disaster zone the day before the Melbourne Cup Carnival began but track manager Liam O’Keeffe’s legion will give their all to have the track perfect for Tuesday’s great race.

Wild winds battered Flemington on Friday morning. The strength of the storm pushed over dozens of trees around Flemington while the winds sent debris, including parts of the running rail, across the track.

O’Keeffe was thankful the storm hit Flemington on Friday rather than impacting Saturday’s Victoria Derby meeting.

“If it had been Saturday morning, we’d have been in trouble,” O’Keeffe said.

“The trainers were saying they hadn’t seen anything like it.”

O’Keeffe and his team prepared a first-class racing surface for Derby Day but their focus switched to Melbourne Cup Day the moment the last runner crossed the line in the final race of the day.

The running rail came down before the watering crew went to work overnight.

Fine conditions are forecast leading up to the Melbourne Cup, leaving O’Keeffe with the balancing act of getting enough water onto the track to ensure it is not too firm without overdoing it, which could create an uneven surface.

But O’Keeffe said he would stick to his usual track preparation routine despite the magnitude of Tuesday’s meeting.

“To be honest, whether it’s Melbourne Cup Day, the middle of June or the middle of January, we’re always trying to prepare a track with nice give, nice grass cover and a track that suits all runners,” O’Keeffe said.

“Melbourne Cup Day is different because it is such a long day so you have got to prepare it a bit juicier Cup Day because you’re starting so early and finishing so late with 10 races.

“You just adjust everything you do according to the weather.”

RACE TIMES (All times AEDT)

RACE 1 (10:45AM): GROUP 3 DARLEY MARIBYRNONG PLATE (1000m)

RACE 2 (11:20PM): THE MACCA’S RUN (2800m)

RACE 3 (12PM): RESIMAX GROUP SUBZERO HANDICAP (1400m)

RACE 4 (12:40PM): LISTED TAB FURPHY PLATE (1800m)

RACE 5 (1:20PM): GRINDERS COFFEE ROASTERS TROPHY (1400m)

RACE 6 (1:55PM): THE SCHWEPPERVESCENCE PLATE (1000m)

RACE 7 (3PM): GROUP 1 LEXUS MELBOURNE CUP (3200M)

RACE 8 (4PM): GROUP 3 HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB STAKES (1400m)

RACE 9 (4:40PM): LISTED TAB TROPHY (1800m)

RACE 10 (5:15PM): MSS SECURITY SPRINT (1200m)

‘WINX OF THE CUP’: STAR HORSE YOU CAN’T IGNORE

Champion jockey James McDonald says don’t underestimate Verry Elleegant in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.

Trainer Chris Waller announced on Saturday that the mare would be one of the 24 runners that will face the starter at Flemington on Tuesday.

He also confirmed that McDonald will be reunited with the mare that he’s won seven Group 1 races aboard.

“It will be an absolute honour to ride her in a Melbourne Cup,” McDonald said.

“It’s an awesome opportunity and it would be the icing on the cake in what’s been an amazing career.

“She’s been such a special horse to me over such a long time.

“I’ve been very lucky during my career to ride some amazing horses and she’s up in the top echelon.

“Horses like Dundeel, Nature Strip and even Winx.

“She’s been an absolute star.”

Verry Elleegant goes into this year’s Melbourne Cup off a third placing in the Cox Plate.

The seven-year-old mare has been asked to carry 57kg next Tuesday, 1kg less than Makybe Diva lumped to victory in her third Melbourne Cup win in 2005 and 1.5kg more than Verry Elleegant carried in last year’s Melbourne Cup when she finished seventh behind Twilight Payment.

“People will say it’s such a big ask for her with the big weight but you never underestimate champions,” McDonald said.

“Chris wouldn’t be running her if he thought she wasn’t up to the task.

“He knows her better than anyone and she’s all heart so don’t rule her out.”

Verry Elleegant sits on the third line of Melbourne Cup betting with TAB Fixed Odds at $13. The $2.30 favourite is Incentivise.

VETS CLEAR RAIDER, GREAT HOUSE POWERS INTO FIELD

Spanish Mission has been passed fit to contest the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.

It caps a whirlwind 48 hours for the Andrew Balding-trained international stayer who came down with a skin irritation on the right lower leg.

Caretaker trainer Tony Noonan and son Tom, family friends of the Baldings, managed to clear the irritation with a course of approved antibiotics.

All scans and veterinary checks on the Cup second favourite cleared the stayer of any structural or muscular damage.

A knock to the lower leg triggered the mild case of cellulitis.

The positive news came after Noonan said yesterday he was confident Spanish Mission will be cleared by Racing Victoria on Saturday to take his place in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup as the $9 second favourite rides out a minor skin infection of sorts.

The news came just before Great House booked his Cup berth with victory in the Hotham Handicap.

The Chris Waller trained gelding powered home to claim victory over Mankayan and punters responded quickly with his Cup quote halving to $26 as soon as the result was confirmed.

MISSION READY TO RUN A MARATHON

Noonan trotted up Spanish Mission again himself in the late afternoon and the Andrew Balding-trained Cup star looked like “he could run a marathon”.

Multiple inspections – stable and RV veterinarians – have cleared Spanish Mission of any structural or soft-tissue damage.

“It’s been a mixed day … I did feel a lot happier at the end of it,” Noonan said.

“The horse has had a knock yesterday (Thursday), he worked soundly this morning, trotted up soundly for me.

“When RV came to inspect him they put this sensor around his pastern, this is where the horse had a knock, and with the pressure of the sensor because the skin is irritated from the knock (he felt it).

“He might have a mild infection in it, the wrap around it forced him to be uncomfortable.”

“We’re pretty confident the issue with him is minor,” Noonan said.

“I would think they‘ll be happy when they inspect him tomorrow.”

Spanish Mission has eased a point with TAB from $6 to $7 following the veterinary inspections.

Noonan has seen similar issues in the past, which gives the 30+ year horseman, and family friend of the Balding’s confidence Spanish Mission will recover fully.

“It was near impossible to pinpoint the issue outside he had a knock to the leg,” Noonan said.

“It’s like having a slight infection, there’s no cut or wound on the leg, but if you touch it, it’s sensitive.

“We’re confident with just some treatment tonight which he’s able to have he should be fine tomorrow.”

RV veterinarians on Friday likened the issue to a mild case of cellulitis.

Spanish Mission was sent to U-Vet Equine Centre, Werribee on Friday for further examination but returned to his nearby quarantine facility a short time later.

WHO TO BACK IN THE CUP

Gilbert Gardiner

1 Spanish Mission

2 Grand Promenade

3 Pondus

4 Incentivise

Brad Waters

1 Incentivise

2 Tralee Rose

3 Grand Promenade

4 Twilight Payment

Glenn McFarlane

1 Incentivise

2 Spanish Mission

3 Verry Elleegant

4 Tralee Rose

Andrew Rule

1 Incentivise

2 Verry Elleegant

3 Spanish Mission

4 Sir Lucan

Patrick Carlyon

1 Spanish Mission

2 Incentivise

3 Grand Promenade

4 Twilight Payment

Ben Dorries

1 Incentivise

2 Verry Elleegant

3 Tralee Rose

4 Selino

Ray Thomas

1 Incentivise

2 Verry Elleegant

3 Grand Promenade

4 The Chosen One

Stephen Brassel

1 Incentivise

2 Spanish Mission

3 Grand Promenade

4 Floating Artist

Nick Quinn

1 Incentivise

2 Spanish Mission

3 Tralee Rose

4 Explosive Jack

Chris Vernuccio

1 Incentivise

2 Spanish Mission

3 Grand Promenade

4 Verry Elleegant

Simon Moy

1 Verry Elleegant

2 Incentivise

3 Grand Promenade

4 Tralee Rose

Originally published as Melbourne Cup 2021: Horses, field, form and betting guide; two runners in doubt

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