Melbourne Cup international horses

Twilight Payment wins Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is one of the true international horse races of the Australian racing calendar.

Since Vintage Crop’s breakthrough win in 1993, the Melbourne Cup field is perpetually dominated by overseas runners. Just two Melbourne Cup winners (Prince Of Penzance in 2015 and Vow And Declare in 2019) in the period between 2010-2020 were bred in Australia or New Zealand, highlighting just how dominant the international raiders have been.

It may be hard to believe for punters these days, but the Melbourne Cup was once an exclusively Australian and New Zealand affair in terms of winners.

That all changed in 1993 when the Dermot Weld-trained Irish superstar Vintage Crop came over and stunned the locals.

The win changed the course of the Melbourne Cup forever.

Weld would return just shy of 10 years later to guide Media Puzzle to a win in 2002, while Delta Blues became the first-ever Japanese-trained Melbourne Cup winner four years later.

From then on it is more often than not that an overseas horse takes out the Melbourne Cup.

Americain (2010), Dunaden (2011), Green Moon (2012) Fiorente (2013), Protectionist (2014) and Almandin (2016) were all overseas raiders or horses purchased by Australian trainers that were bred internationally for staying success.

In 2017, Rekindling became the first UK-trained winner of the Melbourne Cup. Trained by Joseph O’Brien, the three-year-old was heavily supported in the betting and after getting a good run along the inside of the pack, it was able to run down Johannes Vermeer.

The Brits went even better in 2018. Not only did Cross Counter win it for trainer Charlie Appleby, but Marmelo, Prince Of Arran and Finche rounded out an all-UK first four – the first time that has ever happened at the Melbourne Cup.

While the Australian scored a win back for the locals in 2019 with Vow And Declare, the internationals were right back stealing our greatest race in 2020 with Twilight Payment winning for Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien.

The race that stops a nation has had winners from all parts of Europe and even Japan, further solidifying its status as a true international event.

2021 Melbourne Cup Horses

No. Silks Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Odds
1 Twilight Payment Melbourne Cup 2021 Twilight Payment Joseph O’Brien Jye McNeil 2 58kg $11
2 Incentivise Melbourne Cup 2021 Incentivise Peter Moody Brett Prebble 16 57kg $2.50
3 Spanish Mission Melbourne Cup 2021 Spanish Mission Andrew Balding Craig Williams 14 57kg $9
4 Verry Elleegant Melbourne Cup 2021 Verry Elleegant Chris Waller James McDonald 19 57kg $15
5 Explosive Jack Melbourne Cup 2021 Explosive Jack C Maher & D Eustace John Allen 4 54kg $51
6 The Chose One Melbourne Cup 2021 The Chosen One M Baker & A Forsman Damian Lane 5 54kg $61
7 Delphi Melbourne Cup 2021 Delphi A & S Freedman Damien Oliver 3 53.5kg $41
8 Ocean Billy Melbourne Cup 2021 Ocean Billy Chris Waller Damian Thornton 13 53.5kg $101
9 Selino Melbourne Cup 2021 Selino Chris Waller Ron Stewart 24 53.5kg $151
10 Johnny Get Angry Melbourne Cup 2021 Johnny Get Angry Denis Pagan Lachlan King 22 53kg $101
11 Knights Order Melbourne Cup 2021 Knights Order G Waterhouse & A Bott Daniel Stackhouse 9 53kg $201
12 Persan Melbourne Cup 2020 Persan C Maher & D Eustace Luke Currie 11 53kg $31
13 Carif Melbourne Cup 2021 Carif P & P Snowden Blaike McDougall 8 52.5kg $201
14 Master Of Wine Melbourne Cup 2021 Master Of Wine Team Hawkes Fred Kersley 6 52.5kg $101
15 Pondus Melbourne Cup 2020 Pondus Robert Hickmott Rachel King 1 52.5kg $41
16 Grand Promenade Melbourne Cup 2021 Grand Promenade C Maher & D Eustace Kerrin McEvoy 21 52kg $21
17 Miami Bound Melbourne Cup 2021 Miami Bound Danny O’Brien Patrick Moloney 17 52kg $151
18 Port Guillaume Melbourne Cup 2021 Port Guillaume Ben & JD Hayes Harry Coffey 23 52kg $151
19 She's Ideel Melbourne Cup 2021 She’s Ideel Bjorn Baker Craig Newitt 20 52kg $101
20 Future Score Melbourne Cup 2021 Future Score Matt Cumani Dean Yendall 15 51.5kg $301
21 Tralee Rose Melbourne Cup 2021 Tralee Rose Symon Wilde Dean Holland 12 51kg $17
22 Floating Artist Melbourne Cup 2021 Floating Artist C Maher & D Eustace Teo Nugent 10 50kg $18
23 Great House Melbourne Cup 2021 Great House Chris Waller Michael Dee 7 50kg $31
24 Sir Lucan Melbourne Cup 2021 Sir Lucan G Waterhouse & A Bott Glen Boss 18 50kg $26

International Horses In The 2021 Melbourne Cup

European horses

Twilight Payment silks

Twilight Payment

T: Joseph O’Brien
J: Jye McNeil
  • Age: 9YO
  • Color: Bay
  • Sex: Gelding
  • Sire: Teofilo
  • Dam: Dream On Buddy

Win: $13.00

Place: $4.00

Best odds at Ladbrokes

1. Twilight Payment (2)

Last year’s winner, Twilight Payment, will be looking to make it back-to-back wins for the Irish on Tuesday as he lines up in his third Melbourne Cup. The now nine-year-old son of Teofilo led all of the way in 2020 and will be attempting to do so again under the top weight of 58kg. The Joseph O’Brien-trained gelding has had five starts since last year’s Cup success, winning just the once and placing on three occasions. Twilight Payment won the Irish St Leger Trial over 2800m in August and then went on to finish runner-up in the Irish St Leger to Sonnyboyliston at Group 1 level. A repeat effort will have him in the finish.

Spanish Mission silks

Spanish Mission

T: Andrew Balding
J: Craig Williams
  • Age: 6YO
  • Color: Bay
  • Sex: Stallion
  • Sire: Noble Mission
  • Dam: Street Cry

Win: $7.00

Place: $2.50

Best odds at Ladbrokes

3. Spanish Mission (14)

Spanish Mission is relatively lightly raced, with only 18 starts under the six-year-old’s belt. The Andrew Balding-trained son of Noble Mission has won six of those 18, including wins in both the Doncaster Cup and Yorkshire Cup over the past 18 months. The gelding’s most recent race start was over 3270m at York in the Lonsdale Cup, where he finished a narrow second to the world’s best stayer, Stradivarius. He has the runs on the board around some of the world’s best, but he is none from three over two miles.

Delphi silks


T: Anthony & Sam Freedman
J: Damien Oliver
  • Age: 5YO
  • Color: Bay
  • Sex: Stallion
  • Sire: Galileo
  • Dam: Bye Bye Birdie

Win: $34.00

Place: $9.00

Best odds at Ladbrokes

7. Delphi (3)

Delphi made his Australian debut at Eagle Farm in June, which brought an end to his winning streak. The son of Galileo had previously only raced five times, winning four straight races in Europe – including the 2020 Irish St Leger Trial, where he defeated Master Of Reality. While Delphi is now based on our shores, his winning form in Ireland in the first half of his career is still enough to don him as an international, at least for this year’s race. Since coming to Australia, Delphi has won just the once, taking out the Herbert Power Stakes over 2400m at Caulfield two starts ago. The Melbourne Cup will be Delphi’s first race at Flemington and his first start beyond 2800m.

Pondus silks


T: Robert Hickmott
J: Rachel King
  • Age: 6YO
  • Color: Bay
  • Sex: Gelding
  • Sire: Sea The Moon
  • Dam: Diablerette

Win: $51.00

Place: $11.00

Best odds at Ladbrokes

15. Pondus (1)

Pondus is one horse we have seen in Australia a little bit, with the Lloyd Williams-owned gelding coming down under for the second time. Last year, Pondus finished runner-up in both the Bendigo Cup and Queen Elizabeth Stakes during the Melbourne Spring Carnival but missed out on a Melbourne Cup start. The son of Sea The Moon returned home with Joseph O’Brien and raced three times in Ireland, finishing seventh when first-up and then runner-up in his next two starts in June, before returning to Australia and resuming in the Bart Cummings at Flemington over 2500m.

Port Guillaume silks

Port Guillaume

T: Ben & JD Hayes
J: Harry Coffey
  • Age: 5YO
  • Color: Bay
  • Sex: Gelding
  • Sire: Le Havre
  • Dam: Keira

Win: $151.00

Place: $26.00

Best odds at Ladbrokes

18. Port Guillaume (21)

Port Guillaume came to Australia with four wins from six starts, including a Group 2 win over 2500m at Deauville. The son of Le Havre has had four Australian starts now for Ben & JD Hayes and hasn’t troubled the winner on any occasion, with his best result being a 3.5-length sixth in the Naturalism Stakes in his second start here. The five-year-old finished off well in the Caulfield Cup when 10th, but he would need to improve lengths to be competitive on Tuesday.

Sir Lucan silks

Sir Lucan

T: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
J: Glen Boss
  • Age: 4YO
  • Color:Bay
  • Sex:Horse
  • Sire:Camelot (GB)
  • Dam:Sparrow (IRE)

Win: $26.00

Place: $7.00

Best odds at Bet365

24. Sir Lucan (18)

Sir Lucan will be looking to replicate the likes of Cross Counter, Rekindling, Tiger Moth and Il Paradiso as a Northern Hemisphere three-year-old to run well in the Melbourne Cup. The son of Camelot has only had eight career starts, profiling similarly to last year’s runner-up, Tiger Moth. Trained by Cup winner Gai Waterhouse and her co-trainer, Adrian Bott, this two-time race winner gets in very light with just 50kg on his back. Sir Lucan is a Listed winner over 2600m at Navan and was not beaten far by Yibir in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York in August, while in his most recent run he was beaten 13 lengths by Hurricane Lane, who is a six-time winner. The 3200m trip is the only query. He is also a full brother to last year’s Cox Plate winner, Sir Dragonet.

New Zealand horses

The Chosen One silks

The Chosen One

T: Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman
J: Damian Lane
  • Age: 6YO
  • Color: Bay
  • Sex: Stallion
  • Sire: Savabeel
  • Dam: The Glitzy One

Win: $51.00

Place: $14.00

Best odds at Ladbrokes

6. The Chosen One (5)

The Chosen One has always been somewhat underrated, despite running third in last year’s Caulfield Cup and then finishing fourth in the Melbourne Cup. The son of Savabeel is trained by the powerhouse Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman stable, and while he is based in New Zealand, we are used to seeing him here in Australia, with the six-year-old entire starting in his homeland only twice since the 2019 Melbourne Cup. His run in the Caulfield Cup a fortnight ago was lacklustre, so he will need to improve if he is to run like he did 12 months ago, but he will stay the trip and is a Flemington winner.

Ocean Billy silks

Ocean Billy

T: Chris Waller
J: Damien Thornton
  • Age: 6YO
  • Color: Chestnut
  • Sex: Gelding
  • Sire: Ocean Park
  • Dam: Cool Storm

Win: $126.00

Place: $32.00

Best odds at Ladbrokes

8. Ocean Billy (13)

Ocean Billy has only had one Australian start since arriving at Chris Waller’s stable, and it was a modest ninth in the Caulfield Cup behind Incentivise. The six-year-old son of Ocean Park has won seven races in his career, including the Group 1 Auckland Cup in March this year over 3200m in dominant style. We know that the gelding will stay the trip, and unlike a lot of Kiwi horses, he will prefer racing on a dry track at Flemington on Tuesday. The Melbourne Cup has eluded Waller in the past, but he has a solid team this year and Ocean Billy will only add to his chances.


History is certainly on their side, especially over the past decade, so there is no reason why an international horse cannot win the Melbourne Cup this year. Spanish Mission ($8.50) and Twilight Payment ($11) sit on the second and third line of betting in a market dominated by $2.30 favourite Incentivise, so there is a bit of support for them. Sir Lucan comes over as a Northern Hemisphere three-year-old, which has been the mould for Cup success recently too, while the likes of Port Guillaume, Pondus and Ocean Billy are going to relish 3200m. This bunch of internationals would need to improve lengths to beat Incentivise if he replicates his Caulfield Cup win, but there is no doubt that they have the wood over most of our locally trained horses with the exception of two or three.

Why do international horses dominate the Melbourne Cup?

The answer to this is simple: European horses and bred to stay whereas Australian breeders are more interested in horses that sprint.

In Australia the lack of quality staying races throughout the year means there are is a lack of local options. Unless you are running a huge operation, or are prepared to just focus on the Sydney and Melbourne Cups, the true two-mile tests are few and far between.

In contrast, the UK has a number of group staying races all year round. It’s the consistent schedule which has lead to the British, Irish and French horses begin to take control of our cup as the year’s progress.

Will we see Australian-bred horses challenging for the Melbourne Cup anytime soon? Unless there are distinct changes to the racing calendar in the country we believe local winners in our staying tests will be a thing of the past.

International horses that have won the Melbourne Cup

Internationals have dominated the Melbourne Cup results in recent years. With Australia’s fascination still firmly on breeding for early two year olds and speed, that overseas domination of our greatest staying race looks set to continue for some time to come. Some of the most notable Melbourne Cup replays won by overseas horses are below:

1993 – Vintage Crop (Ireland)

1994 – Jeune (England)

2002 – Media Puzzle (Ireland)

2006 – Delta Blues (Japan)

2010 – Americain (France)

2011 – Dunaden (France)

2012 – Green Moon (bred in Ireland)

2013 – Fiorente (bred in Ireland)

2014 – Protectonist (Germany)

2016 – Almandin (Germany)

2017 – Rekindling (Great Britain)

2018 – Cross Counter (Great Britain)

2020 – Twilight Payment (Ireland)

Comments are closed.