Lexus Melbourne Cup
Group 1 Handicap,
Flemington 04:00 (UK time)
3yo plus, 2m    
Tuesday 2nd November 2021


1 Verry Elleegant 17/1
2 Incentivise 19/10F
3 Spanish Mission 9/1
4 Floating Artist 10/1
23 ran NR: Future Score
Distances: 4l, ½l, hd Time: 3m 17.43s

The Chris Waller-trained Verry Elleegant added a 10th Group One win to her record as she saw off hot favourite Incentivise by four lengths in the two-mile feature on Tuesday — a victory Jockey James McDonald believes cements Verry Elleegant’s top rank status.

The rider was originally booked to ride British-trained runner Away He Goes before an injury ruled him out last week and McDonald described his win as a “fairytale”.

He told “It means everything. It’s the one race I’ve dreamed of riding in and of winning.

“That’s how you want to win a Melbourne Cup.

“I couldn’t believe the position I got first time out of the straight, she was so relaxed and she never touched the bridle until I gave her a kick at the 600-metre mark and she sucked up.

“I could see the favourite (Incentivise) getting shoved along but I had seen that in the Caulfield Cup as well. When I went past him, I just wanted that post to come up.

“To pilot horses like Verry Elleegant each and every carnival is just a huge privilege and it worked out really well for us.”

Verry Elleegant has enjoyed some notable battles with William Haggas’ Addeybb over the last couple of years, with her Group One tally encompassing distances from seven furlongs to this two miles.

McDonald was happy to settle his mount in mid-division through the early stages as Incentivise raced in second through the majority of the race, but Verry Elleegant was clearly travelling well as the field turned for home.

Andrew Balding’s British raider Spanish Mission was perfectly placed to make his run down the middle of the track as Incentivise went for home, but Verry Elleegant was sat on his shoulder and when McDonald gave the signal, the response was immediate.

Verry Elleegant pulled clear in the final furlong, with Spanish Mission staying on all the way for Craig Williams but just failing to catch Incentivise for second by half a length. The ex-Richard Hannon inmate Floating Artist was fourth while Joseph O’Brien’s defending champion Twilight Payment finished 11th.

Waller watched the race with his family at home in Sydney and admitted it was a special moment to land his first Melbourne Cup.

Trainers Quotes

“When she crossed the line, I was very emotional,” Waller said.

“I really wanted to be there to share it with the staff and those who have worked so hard, but to watch it with my family made it very, very special.”

Waller famously handled 25-times Group One winner and four-times Cox Plate champion Winx and he added: “It makes it pretty special to have another mare like this one. So brave, so determined and so good.

“We’ve had some great wins and important wins and this is certainly one of them.

“It’s the Melbourne Cup, so it’s very special and just the way she won it. She dropped on them and showed her class.

“She was the class of the race and she showed that with that finish that I’ll never forget.”

Jockey Craig Williams admitted Spanish Mission had been no match for the winner, but was delighted with his placed run.

He said: “Couldn’t have been any more impressed with his gallant performance. I had the option of being one horse in for the entire race but I decided to be on the back of Grand Promenade, I thought it would take me nicely into the race and we did. But when Verry Elleegant came around me, she was towing.

“My horse did a really good job and was fighting it out for second. Great job by Andrew Balding and his team for the planning and what a gallant warrior to go to battle with.”

Incentivise was sent off the shortest-priced favourite since Phar Lap in 1930 and his rider Brett Prebble said: “Courageous effort. His first time to this trip and it took a champion to beat him.”

Twilight Payment was a touch slow to break and jockey Jye McNeil said: “He wasn’t able to get into his usual role and at the halfway point he really struggled.”


Lexus Melbourne Cup (Group 1 Handicap)
A$ 8,000,000
3yo plus, 2m (3200 Metres)
23 ran

Going: Good

1 (18)     Verry Elleegant 6 9-0 Chris Waller James McDonald 17/1
2 (15)
4 Incentivise 5 9-0 4ex Peter G Moody Brett Prebble 19/10F
3 (14)
½ Spanish Mission 5 9-0 Andrew Balding Craig A Williams 9/1
4 (10)
hd Floating Artist 5 7-12 Ciaron Maher & David Eustace Teodore Nugent 10/1
5 (5)
6 The Chosen One 6 8-7 Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Damian Lane 30/1
6 (20)
2 Grand Promenade 5 8-3 3ex Ciaron Maher & David Eustace Kerrin McEvoy 14/1
7 (3)
¾ Delphi 4 8-6 2ex Anthony & Sam Freedman Damien Oliver
8 (24)
shd Selino 5 8-6 Chris Waller Ronnie Stewart
9 (12)
Tralee Rose 5 8-0 Symon Wilde Dean Holland
10 (20)
½ She's Ideel 6 8-3 Bjorn Baker Craig Newitt
11 (2)
Twilight Payment 8 9-2 Joseph Patrick O'Brien Jye McNeil
12 (16)
2 Miami Bound 5 8-3 Danny O'Brien Patrick Moloney
13 (7)
½ Great House 5 7-12 Chris Waller Michael Dee
14 (17)
shd Sir Lucan 3 7-12 Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Glen Boss
15 (4)
Explosive Jack 4 8-7 Ciaron Maher & David Eustace John Allen
16 (6)
1 Master Of Wine 6 8-4 Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Fred Kersley
17 (1)
½ Pondus 5 8-4 Robert Hickmott Rachel King
18 (8)
¾ Carif 6 8-4 Peter & Paul Snowden Blaike McDougall
19 (9)
nk Knights Order 6 8-5 Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Daniel Stackhouse
20 (11)
Persan 5 8-5 Ciaron Maher & David Eustace Luke Currie
21 (22) Port Guillaume 4 8-3 Ben & JD Hayes Harry Coffey
22 (21) 1-0090 Johnny Get Angry 4 8-5 Denis Pagan Lachlan King
23 (13) 105059 Ocean Billy 6 8-6 Chris Waller Damien Thornton
NR 20 Future Score 6 8-2 Matt Cumani Dean Yendall

Boylesports 6 places

Melbourne Cup Timeline

1861 – The first Melbourne Cup was run and won by Archer, ridden by John Cutts and trained by Etienne De Mestre. The first prize was a gold watch and 930 pounds and the event attracted a crowd 4,000 people.

1865 – The first year a trophy was awarded, which was a silver bowl on a stand with a narrow neck with two ornate handles and topped with a horse and jockey.

1873 – The smallest ever Melbourne Cup field with seven starters.

1875 – The first time the Melbourne Cup was run on the first Tuesday in November.

1877 - Melbourne Cup became a public holiday for Victorians.

1880 – First Melbourne Cup to attract an attendance of 100,000.

1890 – Carbine won the Melbourne Cup in record time (3.28.25) carrying a record weight (65.5kg) in the biggest field ever assembled (39).

1896 – The first ever Melbourne Cup to be captured on film.

1925 – Melbourne radio station 3LO broadcast a live commentary of the Cup for the very first time.

1930 – Phar Lap makes history, winning races on each of the four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

1948 – Photo finishing was used for the first time to decide the winner with Rimfire winning over Dark Marne by a nose length.

1965 – Light Fingers wins the Melbourne Cup to provide Bart Cummings with his first Melbourne Cup win.

1972 – The first metric running of the Melbourne Cup with the two-mile distance becoming 3,200 metres.

1990 – The fastest run Melbourne Cup was won by Kingston Rule in 3:16.3 minutes.

1993 – The first time the great race is won by an international horse, Vintage Crop from Dublin.

2001 – Carbine inducted into the Hall of Fame.