Giddy up everyone, because it’s the first Tuesday of November and that means one thing — it’s Melbourne Cup time.
We’ll be bringing you live coverage as we count down to the big race at 5pm NZT.
If you’ve left your annual flutter to the last minute and want to know who to throw your cash behind, check out our extensive runner-by-runner form guide.
Alternatively, our racing expert Michael Guerin has outlined the crucial reason why this year’s race is different to those that have come before.
'Nup to the Cup': Protestors storm Flemington gates
It hasn’t taken long for the Cup to be hit by protesters, who have stormed the gate yelling “nup to the cup”.
Images from the gates show police officers apprehending several of them.
Animal rights advocates have targeted the Melbourne Cup over many years, saying the sport is cruel for the animals involved. Seven horses have died on Cup Day since 2013.
ABC news presenter Michael Rowland tweeted saying he was still uneasy with the event despite the timing of it giving Victorians a much-needed boost.
“I am increasingly conflicted about the Melbourne Cup,” he said. “Yes, it’s huge event (and God knows Melbourne needs them at the moment).
“But I can’t overlook the fact seven horses have died on Cup Day since 2013. That really doesn’t sit easily with me. Genuinely torn.”
Late plunge on Melbourne Cup runner
Johnny Get Angry has been slashed to $71 with some bookmakers — less than half the price the unfancied four-year-old gelding was 24 hours out from the Cup.
The New Zealand horse, which is trained by former North Melbourne AFL coach Denis Pagan, had been $151 with the TAB on Monday.
Harness racing expert and professional punter Matt Leppard wrote on Twitter the big move in the market “is beyond me”.
'Just very sad': Disaster strikes on Cup morning
Future Score has been scratched from the race after being re-examined by vets this morning with lameness in his right foreleg, bringing the field down to 23 runners.
It is a devastating blow for trainer Matt Cumani and jockey Dean Yendall.
“Just very sad for the owners of the horse, we thought he was a better chance than 200-1, he was really peaking for this week,” Cumani told SEN on Tuesday morning.
The trainer questioned the last-minute decision and was critical of the “ultra-conservative” stance from Racing Victoria. Safety measures for Cup runners have been ramped up this year as a result of an investigation into safety practices after six horses died in the Cup over the past seven years.
Cumani said the strict measures went too far for his runner.
“I think there’s a lot of pressure on Racing Victoria to be ultra, ultra conservative. And for them it was a real margin call, it went down to 7.29am to make the decision,” he said, according to racing.com.
“They decided to be ultra-cautious. I can understand their point of view when they don’t know a horse inside out. But for me and my vet, who know him inside out, and know he presented in the same way going into the Cranbourne Cup, which he won convincingly, it’s a bit frustrating.”
He said he expects Future Score to race again this month.
Meanwhile, Delphi ($21) has been given the all-clear to race in the Melbourne Cup after passing an extra veterinary test this morning.
Delphi presented signs of lameness in his left foreleg on Monday, but pulled up fine on Tuesday and vets have given him the green light.
Melbourne turning it on with record temperature
The 2021 Melbourne Cup will be run in the hottest conditions seen at Flemington since 2005 with the mercury set to reach 30C.
The heat won’t stop the crowd of 10,000 enjoying the day out.
Flemington race times (all times NZT)
RACE 1 (12:45PM): GROUP 3 DARLEY MARIBYRNONG PLATE (1000m)
RACE 2 (1:20PM): THE MACCA’S RUN (2800m)
RACE 3 (2PM): RESIMAX GROUP SUBZERO HANDICAP (1400m)
RACE 4 (2:40PM): LISTED TAB FURPHY PLATE (1800m)
RACE 5 (3:20PM): GRINDERS COFFEE ROASTERS TROPHY (1400m)
RACE 6 (3:55PM): THE SCHWEPPERVESCENCE PLATE (1000m)
RACE 7 (5PM): GROUP 1 LEXUS MELBOURNE CUP (3200M)
RACE 8 (6PM): GROUP 3 HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB STAKES (1400m)
RACE 9 (6:40PM): LISTED TAB TROPHY (1800m)
RACE 10 (7:15PM): MSS SECURITY SPRINT (1200m)
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