Welcome to our live coverage of the Melbourne Cup. Follow along as we’ll provide the latest from Flemington throughout the day.
Stay tuned to nzherald.co.nz/sport as we’ll provide all the developments you need to know, including a live Q&A with our resident racing expert Michael Guerin at 1pm and a live blog of the race that stops the nation.
Don’t want to pick a loser? Here’s Herald sports editor Cameron McMillan’s Dummies guide to losing on the Melbourne Cup.
Download the Herald’s Melbourne Cup office sweepstake starter kit here.
11.30am: Legendary trainer slams Victorian government
There’s been early drama at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day with one of the internationals scratched from the race.
King of Leogrance, a member of trainer Danny O’Brien’s army of runners, has been pulled out after a veterinary inspection revealed he was lame in his off foreleg.
Iconic trainer Gai Waterhouse has also lashed out at Victorian Premier Dan Andrews as she voiced her disgust at spectators being banned from attending because of Covid-19 restrictions, accusing authorities of “completely” over-reacting.
“It’s quite ridiculous really, the way they’ve gone on in Victoria,” she told 2GB’s Ben Fordham. “The Premier there should wake up and let people go on with their business.
“By all means social distance … but you can’t have the country cut off at the knees!”
10.30am: Straight from the horse’s mouth – King Of Leogrance ‘breaks silence’
“I’m 100 percent devastated to miss out on the Melbourne Cup,” the horse said*.
“I love pulling on the number 14. It is a privilege to race in Flemington and a privilege to be selected to represent France.
“As an athlete and competitor, I pride myself on performing no matter how my body feels but I also accept the veterinary staff have my best interest at heart in making this decision.
“I’ll be cheering loudly from stable and will be working tirelessly to earn my place back in the race next year.”
* If King of Leogrance could talk, we’d imagine this is what he’d say.
10.15am: King of Leogrance out of the Cup
We’ll have a 23-horse field in today’s race after Racing Victoria stewards announced King of Leogrance as a late scratching.
Owner Nick Williams said the gelding presented with a pulse in his foot.
“It’s one of those things that happens,” Williams told racing.com.
“He must have a bit of a bruise there somewhere or an abscess brewing. It would be one of the two.
“If it had of arrived yesterday we probably could have treated it and had some chance. If it arrived tomorrow it wouldn’t have been a problem.
“Unfortunately it arrived today. There’s nothing we can do about it.”
Williams said the scratching was a shame for trainer Danny O’Brien and his team.
“It’s terribly disappointing when you have to pull a horse out on race morning, in particular in a race as big as the Melbourne Cup,” he said.
“I feel terribly disappointed for Danny (O’Brien and his team), who have looked after this horse since he has been down there. They put their heart and soul into it.
“They would have gone to bed last night thinking they were taking a horse to the Melbourne Cup and to get there this morning and find him with a pulse in his foot would be terribly disappointing for them more than anyone.”
9.50am: Flemington set to favour visitors
They’re already considered two of the best chances to win the race and Anthony Van Dyck and Tiger Moth can go about their business in relative peach and quiet.
Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Corey Brown, who has backed Anthony Van Dyck to win the race, said the empty racecourse was a huge advantage for the international raiders.
“This goes for all the European horses – they’re getting a big benefit from the fact there’s no crowd,” Brown wrote for foxsports.com.au. “Quite often they can get very stirred up by the big atmosphere on Cup Day, and can lose their race before it’s run. That won’t be the case for the Covid Cup.”
Six-time Melbourne Cup winning owner Lloyd Williams agreed, saying it would be of extra benefit to inexperienced horses like betting favourite Tiger Moth.
“They’ve played into his hands this year. There’s no crowds there, so for an inexperienced horse he’s not going to face 100,000 people in the mounting yard,” Williams told RadioTAB.
“If (jockey Kerrin) McEvoy gives him a good ride, he’ll be hard to beat. I’d love to own him.
“Provided nothing goes wrong with this horse over the next 12 months, you’ll hear a lot of him.”
9am: Clear Melbourne Cup favourite emerges
A late betting plunge has seen Tiger Moth emerge as a standout favourite for the Melbourne Cup.
Despite a rough barrier draw, connections of the lightly-raced international have convinced punters he’s the real deal.
Tiger Moth blew out from $6.50 to $9 when the barrier draw was revealed, but the Irish raider has since bounced back into punters’ good books and is the shortest-priced favourite in the race at $6.50.
Anthony Van Dyck was the favourite for most of Sunday night and Monday morning but has pushed out to $9.50 and Surprise Baby is now second favourite at $9.
Six-time Melbourne Cup winning owner Lloyd Williams believes Tiger Moth is “the perfect horse”.
Racing expert and presenter Francesca Cumani agreed, saying he is “impossible to ignore”.
“He will have plenty of supporters in the Cup because he has the ideal profile of being a lightly raced northern hemisphere three-year-old with a good VC and light weight (52.5kg),” she said.
He’s not among the top contenders but the other big mover in the market is Twilight Payment, who has shortened from $41 to $21 and is currently Ladbrokes worst result.
This is our comprehensive runner-by-runner preview followed by a predicted first four and the best betting strategy for spending $100 on the race.
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