The Melbourne Cup will be run and won on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, with our runner-by-runner guide updated when the field is released. Our guide to the Melbourne Cup runners includes the top odds for each horse, recent form and other important betting information.
Melbourne Cup field, form and runner by runner examination
We took a look at the contenders for this year’s Melbourne Cup and gave our impressions on the race that stops a nation ahead of what looms as one of the hardest races to predict in the Australian spring.
2020 Melbourne Cup Field
|2020 Melbourne Cup Field|
|1||Anthony Van Dyck||Aidan O’Brien||Hugh Bowman||3||58.5kg||$8.50|
|2||Avilius||James Cummings||John Allen||10||57kg||$51|
|3||Vow And Declare||Danny O’Brien||Jamie Mott||4||57kg||$51|
|4||Master Of Reality||Joseph O’Brien||Ben Melham||11||56kg||$26|
|5||Sir Dragonet||C Maher & D Eustace||Glen Boss||14||55.5kg||$10|
|6||Twilight Payment||Joseph O’Brien||Jye McNeil||12||55.5kg||$31|
|7||Verry Elleegant||Chris Waller||Mark Zahra||15||55.5kg||$13|
|8||Mustajeer||Kris Lees||Michael Rodd||2||55kg||$101|
|9||Stratum Albion||Willie Mullins||Jordan Childs||9||55kg||$47|
|10||Dashing Willoughby||Andrew Balding||Michael Walker||19||54.5kg||$101|
|11||Finche||Chris Waller||James McDonald||6||54.5kg||$19|
|12||Prince Of Arran||Charlie Fellowes||Jamie Kah||1||54.5kg||$12|
|13||Surprise Baby||Paul Preusker||Craig Williams||7||54.5kg||$9.50|
|15||Russian Camelot||Danny O’Brien||Damien Oliver||16||53.5kg||$13|
|16||Steel Prince||A & S Freedman||William Pike||21||53.5kg||$44|
|17||The Chosen One||M Baker & A Forsman||Daniel Stackhouse||5||53.5kg||$42|
|18||Ashrun||Andreas Wohler||Declan Bates||24||53kg||$23|
|19||Warning||A & S Freeman||Luke Currie||8||53kg||$51|
|20||Etah James||C Maher & D Eustace||Billy Egan||22||52.5kg||$201|
|21||Tiger Moth||Aidan O’Brien||Kerrin McEvoy||23||52.5kg||$8.60|
|22||Oceanex||M Price & M Kent jnr||Dean Yendall||17||51.5kg||$101|
|23||Miami Bound||Danny O’Brien||Daniel Moor||21||51kg||$41|
|24||Persan||C Maher & D Eustace||Michael Dee||20||51kg||$42|
2020 Melbourne Cup Full Form Guide & Runner By Runner Betting Preview
Despite fears six months ago of either an all-Australian Melbourne Cup or no Cup at all, the great race has been assembled for the first Tuesday in November and has attracted one of the strongest fields we have ever seen.
The full field of 24 horses includes nine international runners. Run over 3200m at Flemington for $7,750,000, it truly is the race that stops a nation.
2020 Melbourne Cup Speed Map
Similarly to last year, we expect to see Twilight Payment and Master Of Reality up there bowling along. Adding a bit more pressure into the race is outsider Dashing Willoughby, who has drawn wide and will look to cross them early.
Finche won’t be all that far away, while we suspect last year’s winner, Vow And Declare, will use his low gate to box seat. Anthony Van Dyck should settle closer than his Caulfield Cup run from barrier three, while Melbourne Cup betting sites fancies Verry Elleegant, Prince Of Arran, Tiger Moth and Surprise Baby will all be around midfield.
Melbourne Cup Runner by Runner Betting Preview
Anthony Van Dyck (3)
5YO Bay Horse
Hugh Bowman (58.5kg)
Anthony Van Dyck comes off a brilliant second in the Caulfield Cup in what was the perfect lead-up run for this race. He drew the carpark on that occasion, so the low draw will be beneficial here and allow Bowman to settle a bit closer than he did a fortnight ago. He’s an Epsom Derby winner and beat one of the world’s best stayers in Stradivarius in his last start before coming to Australia. It would be an extraordinary feat if he were to win the Melbourne Cup with 58.5kg, with no horse since Makybe Diva in 2005 reigning supreme with 58kg or more. His best form is at 2400m and he is untested beyond that, so he has a task ahead of him, but his Caulfield Cup run was pleasing.
Can Anthony Van Dyck win The Cup?
He can if he brings his best. The big weight, where he gets to in the run, and whether or not he can stay out the two miles are huge question marks, but on class alone, he has to be right in the mix.
Anthony Van Dyck 2nd to Verry Elleegant – 2020 Caulfield Cup
7YO Brown Gelding
John Allen (57kg)
Godolphin have just the one runner in the race this year, with James Cummings’ Avilius. He finished a long way from the winner in this race in 2018, when the fallen horse came down in front of him, so we are penning that completely here. He’s a winner over 2500m at Flemington and comes off a luckless effort in the Caulfield Cup when strung up in traffic in the straight. All four of his runs this campaign have suggested this has been his target race, and he is in the right hands to give the grandson of the Cup’s King his first Melbourne Cup. He is a three-time Group 1 winner and has drawn favourably in barrier 10 to allow John Allen to find a spot, switch off and utilise the horse’s scintillating turn of foot.
Can Avilius win The Cup?
He’s the forgotten horse coming into this we think. He’ll get all the favours in the run, and as long as he can stay the trip, he is a live each-way chance.
Avilius 6th to Verry Elleegant – 2020 Caulfield Cup
Vow And Declare (4)
5YO Chestnut Gelding
Jamie Mott (57kg)
The reigning champion returns for another throw at the stumps here, albeit with 5kg more. He gets the blinkers on for the first time and is drawn much kinder in barrier four. Craig Williams has jumped off, so Jamie Mott will get the sit on the five-year-old gelding for the first time and is likely to get the run of the race from barrier four. His form has been lacklustre in the past 12 months, failing to win a race. He finished 12th in the Turnbull Stakes and 15th in the Caulfield Cup at his last two outings, so it is fair to say he isn’t in the same rich vein of form he was in 12 months ago.
Can Vow And Declare win The Cup?
The rise in weight and the loss of form is a big concern for last year’s winner. We can’t have him winning back-to-back Cups.
Vow And Declare 15th to Verry Elleegant – 2020 Caulfield Cup
Master Of Reality (11)
6YO Bay Gelding
Ben Melham (56kg)
The son of Frankel finished fourth in this race last year after being relegated from second placing in the steward’s room. He has only had the four runs since, winning dominantly over 2800m at his latest. He only rises half a kilogram from his performance last year, and he gets the in-form Ben Melham aboard. From gate 11, they’ll be right thereabouts in the run again and be hoping to finish one spot better than last year. He is owned by one of the most prolific owners in Melbourne Cup history in Lloyd Williams, who is chasing his seventh victory in the great race.
Can Master Of Reality win The Cup?
If he brings a similar performance from last year, he is a huge chance. He is well in at the weights, drawn well and will definitely stay the journey. Don’t leave him out of your multiples.
Vow And Declare 15th to Verry Elleegant – 2020 Caulfield Cup
Sir Dragonet (14)
5YO Bay Horse
Glen Boss (55.5kg)
Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
Sir Dragonet is coming in hot off an impressive win in the Cox Plate last weekend. Three-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey Glen Boss retains the ride as he looks for his first Cup since ’05. The son of Camelot drops 3.5kg from his Cox Plate win, which is a huge plus, but he’ll need every bit of assistance as he rises to 3200m for the first time. He finished 3L off the winner in the Great British St Leger over 2900m 14 months ago, but his form since has been best at 2000m. He’ll settle midfield from barrier 14 and look to add a Melbourne Cup to his Australian assault.
Can Sir Dragonet win The Cup?
The 3200m is a big concern. His Cox Plate win suggested he is all class, but at the top of the market, we are happy to bet around him.
Sir Dragonet wins 2020 Cox Plate
Twilight Payment (12)
8YO Bay Horse
Jye McNeil (55.5kg)
Finished 11th in this race last year when sent out as a despised outsider under Hugh Bowman. Jye McNeil takes the ride this year, and from barrier 12, we imagine to see the pair lead the field up along the back. His form since this race last year has been excellent, with two wins including an 8L romping over Master Of Reality at The Curragh. He rises 0.5kg from last year and is now an eight-year-old, so we have to question whether he’ll be sharp enough.
Can Twilight Payment win The Cup?
His form in the last six months suggests he can, but his age and racing pattern makes it hard for us to see him winning.
Twilight Payment 3rd 2020 Irish St Leger
Verry Elleegant (15)
5YO Brown Mare
Mark Zahra (55.5kg)
Verry Elleegant comes off two monster efforts in winning both the Turnbull Stakes and the Caulfield Cup in preparation for her first attempt at two miles. She’s arguably Australia’s best horse, in the hands of one of our best trainers in Chris Waller, so she has to be a genuine winning hope. While barrier 15 isn’t ideal, she has faired better than a number of key chances, and it allows Mark Zahra, who is now two from two on the mare, to find cover early and allow her to relax. She would have to be the first mare to win the race since Makybe Diva 15 years ago.
Can Verry Elleegant win The Cup?
Yes, she can. History is against her, and her tendency to over-race could cost her at 3200m. Traditionally, the Turnbull and Caulfield Cup would be ideal lead ups for this race, and she has been excellent in winning both.
Verry Elleegant wins 2020 Caulfield Cup
8YO Brown Gelding
Michael Rodd (55kg)
The eight-year-old came over here 12 months ago after winning the Ebor Handicap fashionably, but he has never really fired, winning only once in 10 Australian starts. He only beat one runner home in this race last year and stays at 55kg this time in. We did see an improved showing in the Caulfield Cup, but he arguably ran better in that race 12 months ago also before failing in the Melbourne Cup. From barrier two, he could get tucked away on the rails, which won’t help his winning chances, but he is aided by a Melbourne Cup-winning jockey in Michael Rodd.
Can Mutstajeer win The Cup?
He can if he brings his Ebor form from 18 months ago, but he hasn’t shown any of that since being in Australia, and we don’t expect him to fire here.
Mustajeer 8th to Verry Elleegant – 2020 Caulfield Cup
Stratum Albion (9)
8YO Bay Gelding
Jordan Childs (55kg)
Willie Mullins brings over eight-year-old Stratum Albion for a Cup tilt, but his form suggests he isn’t going well enough. He does come off a second to the precocious Enbihaar at York last start over 2800m, but his form prior was plain. He is drawn well in barrier nine, but he is typically ridden cold, so expect to see him with a wall in front of them as they swing for home. It’s been over 12 months since his last win, and we can’t see him breaking the drought in this.
Can Stratum Albion win The Cup?
He’s in the hands of a great trainer, but his form is ordinary. No, he can’t.
Stratum Albion (Stratum) 2nd 2020 Lonsdale Cup
Dashing Willoughby (19)
5YO Bay Gelding
Michael Walker (54.5kg)
Dashing Willoughby came to Australia with plenty of admirers, but he was very ordinary in the Caulfield Cup when finishing a long last. Michael Walker would be feeling pretty ill right about now, after electing to jump of Prince Of Arran to ride Dashing Willoughby this spring. He will likely lead from barrier 19 or at least be right thereabouts in the run, but he would need to improve drastically. The big track and 3200m should suit, as he has a win over 2018 Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter at this distance three starts ago.
Can Dashing Willoughby win The Cup?
Not unless he improves 30 lengths. He’s $126 for a reason.
Dashing Willoughby 18th to Verry Elleegant – 2020 Caulfield Cup
7YO Chestnut Gelding
James McDonald (54.5kg)
Finche is back for a third roll of the dice in the Melbourne Cup as a seven-year-old. His three runs this time in have been encouraging, placing in the Chelmsford and the Turnbull Stakes before a gallant fifth in the Caulfield Cup at his latest. James McDonald will hop aboard for the first time, and from barrier six, they should get a beautiful run in behind the speed. He finished seventh in this race last year and fourth the year before, so he is always right thereabouts in the finish and has to be respected. Waller and McDonald are striking at 19% when combining, which is great areas, and neither have won a Cup, so they’ll both be hungry for the success.
Can Finche win The Cup?
His preparation has been faultless thus far, and he is in great hands. He’ll need to go to another level again here, but he cannot be left out of multiples.
Finche 5th to Verry Elleegant – 2020 Caulfield Cup
Prince Of Arran (1)
8YO Bay Gelding
Jamie Kah (54.5kg)
Prince Of Arran had the perfect Cup trial when fourth in the Caulfield Cup last start. This is now his third trip to Australia, where he has had success in running third and second in the 2018 and 2019 Melbourne Cup respectively. He has won a Geelong Cup and a Lexus Handicap in his time in Australia but is still chasing his first Melbourne Cup. The way he flashed from last in the Caulfield Cup suggests he is ready to go over 3200m, and getting back to Flemington will only help. From the inside alley, Jamie Kah is likely to settle a bit closer in the run and should be strong late
Can Prince Of Arran win The Cup?
He’s placed twice in this race, and there’s no reason why he can’t go one better this year. He thrives in Australia and has been set for this all along.
Prince Of Arran 4th to Verry Elleegant – 2020 Caulfield Cup
Surprise Baby (7)
6YO Bay or Brown Gelding
Craig Williams (54.5kg)
Somewhat the forgotten horse this year despite being rock solid in the market is Paul Preusker’s Surprise Baby. The lightly raced five-year-old has only had two runs since running a massive fifth in this race last year, where he was one of the only horses to make any ground from the back. His first-up run around The Valley at an unsuitable trip was great, and his Turnbull run was luckless. In just his sixth career start, he was a dominant winner in the Adelaide Cup over 3200m, so we know he will stay, and he can only have gotten better in the past 12 months. He rises 1kg here and gets Craig Williams aboard from barrier seven, which is ideal. He’s been set for this for a long time.
Can Surprise Baby win The Cup?
Absolutely, he can. This has been his goal for 12 months, and he looks the perfect horse to give both Craig Williams and Australia back-to-back Melbourne Cups.
Surprise Baby 9th to Verry Elleegant – 2020 Turnbull Stakes
King Of Leogrance (18)
6YO Bay Gelding
Damian Lane (53.5kg)
He won this year’s Adelaide Cup and was nearly favourite for this race six months ago, but his form since hasn’t been that fantastic. He was beaten by Oceanex in the Andrew Ramsden and has since only placed in the Geelong Cup when in the worst part of the ground. Damien Lane has stuck, and he is in the hands of elite staying trainer Danny O’Brien. The 3200m will be no concern at all, but he will be back in the run and have plenty to do. In 159 years of the Melbourne Cup, no horse has ever won from barrier 18.
Can King Of Leogrance win The Cup?
The history buffs would be completely turned off by barrier 18, so we’ll say no. His form hasn’t really been good enough, but he will stay the trip and did beat Ashrun home at Geelong.
*** UPDATE ***
King of Leogrance has been scratched from the Melbourne Cup (Flemington Race 7) at 7.38am by the Stewards acting on veterinary advice. The horse was inspected by RV veterinarians upon request of the stable and was found to be lame in its off fore leg.
King Of Leogrance 3rd to Steel Prince – 2020 Geelong Cup
Russian Camelot (16)
4YO Bay or Brown Horse
Damien Oliver (53.5kg)
Bred in the Northern Hemisphere but locally trained, Russian Camelot is the X-factor in the race and may be somewhat overlooked after two defeats at Group 1 level when favourite. It’s no secret he has been set for this race for a long time, and Danny O’Brien will no doubt have him peaking on Tuesday. His win in the South Australian Derby suggested he is an out-and-out stayer, while his win in the Underwood Stakes over 1800m early in the spring made it look more as though he might be too excellent to be a Cups horse. Damien Oliver knows what it takes to ride a Melbourne Cup winner, and he has been booked for a long time now. Barrier 16 will see the entire settle midfield and chime in at the business end. He does look more effective with his toe in the ground.
Can Russian Camelot win The Cup?
There’s no doubting that he is a top-four chance in this, and he has never been out of the numbers at Group 1 level. Flemington has been his Kryptonite. He’s a leading chance.
Russian Camelot 3rd to Sir Dragonet – 2020 Cox Plate
Steel Prince (21)
7YO Bay Gelding
William Pike (53.5kg)
Anthony & Sam Freedman
The Geelong Cup winner has been racing terrifically this campaign and looks ready to go over 3200m. The seven-year-old was only a length off Orderofthegarter in the Naturalism before running a close third in the Bart Cummings behind Persan. Geelong Cup winners have a strong record in this race, with two horses completing the double in the last 10 years. William Pike, who is flying of late, hops aboard and will likely snag back from barrier 21. He finished ninth in this race last year but rises 1kg from that run.
Can Steel Prince win The Cup?
The form he is in suggests he can, and Geelong Cup winners do generally go well, but we aren’t convinced he is at this level. The barrier makes it hard too.
Steel Prince wins 2020 Geelong Cup
The Chosen One (5)
5YO Bay Horse
Daniel Stackhouse (53.5kg)
Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman
The five-year-old entire surprised many when he ran third to Verry Elleegant and Anthony Van Dyck in the Caulfield Cup, as he was plain in the Underwood and Herbert Power Stakes leading up to it. He was a winner first up at Flemington over 1700m and should appreciate getting back to the big track. He only battled away in this race last year, and he ran a narrow second in the Sydney Cup over the same distance in the autumn, but this is much harder. If he replicates his Caulfield Cup effort, he is a big smokey.
Can The Chosen One win The Cup?
A win seems unlikely, but he maps well and is going well enough to give a strong showing.
The Chosen One 3rd to Verry Elleegant – 2020 Caulfield Cup
5YO Bay Horse
Declan Bates (53kg)
German import Ashrun will be having his third start in 13 days, after securing his spot in the race with a gritty win in the Lexus Hotham Stakes on Derby Day. After settling last, he flew home under the big weight to get up right on the post. He drops 8kg on Tuesday, which is a big advantage, and will be suited by Flemington once again. He had the flashing light on him at Geelong in his first Australian start, and his Melbourne Cup-winning trainer, Andreas Wohler, has made the trip to Melbourne via hotel quarantine to be there. The son of Authorised hasn’t won beyond 2500m, but he has two placings over 3000m which suggests he’ll get the trip. From the outside alley, Declan Bates will more than likely have him in the last quarter of the field and finishing strongly.
Can Ashrun win The Cup?
The big drop in the weights is a huge plus and makes us think he can. It’ll be a monster effort backing up, replicating only Shocking and Brew in the last 20 years.
Ashrun wins 2020 Hotham Handicap
4YO Chestnut Gelding
Luke Currie (53kg)
Anthony & Sam Freedman
The 2019 VRC Derby winner gets back to Flemington for only the second time since his win in the 3YO Classic 12 months ago. His run in the Turnbull screamed ‘Melbourne Cup horse’, but he was a tad disappointing in the Caulfield Cup when 12th. He did find the worst part of the track that day and didn’t handle Caulfield, so we are prepared to forgive him there. He is by Declaration of War, who sired Vow And Declare, so he is bred to stay, and does his best racing at Flemington. The 53kg is a big advantage, as he meets Russian Camelot half a kilogram better than when they met in the SA Derby in May. Barrier eight appeals here, as he will get a cozy run and be strong late.
Can Warning win The Cup?
He has been crying out for a trip all prep and looks beautifully placed here. There’s been worse $41 shots, that’s for sure.
Warning 12th to Verry Elleegant – 2020 Caulfield Cup
Etah James (22)
8YO Brown Mare
Billy Egan (52.5kg)
Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
Etah James is a genuinely dour stayer who was a winner of the Sydney Cup over this trip in April at a big price. She’s had only two runs this prep, finishing a long way off the winner in the Metropolitan before improving in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup last time out. She’ll be handy to the speed from barrier 22, but we cannot see her in the finish here. She won the Sydney Cup with 51kg and rises to 52.5kg for a much, much tougher race.
Can Etah James win The Cup?
Maybe if she started before Race 1 on Tuesday.
Etah James 4th to Miami Bound – 2020 Moonee Valley Cup
Tiger Moth (23)
4YO Bay Horse
Kerrin McEvoy (52.5kg)
Futures punters collectively moaned a sound of disappointment when the ante-post betting favourite drew barrier 23. The Coolmore-owned four-year-old entire from the Aidan O’Brien stable comes to Australia to contest the Melbourne Cup at what will be only his fifth career start. He has oozed class, winning twice and placing at his other two starts, which included a very narrow defeat in the Irish Derby to the Santiago, who was highly rated for this race. He comes off a 4L victory at Leopardstown over 2414m but is yet to race beyond that trip. Kerrin McEvoy snatched up the ride months in advance, which is important to consider. He will get back from the barrier, and if the hype is right, he could just win this.
Can Tiger Moth win The Cup?
While it’s only his fifth career start and he’s drawn poorly, you simply cannot write off the Ballydoyle team when they bring runners to Australia. This horse has been spruiked for a long time now, so yes, he can.
Tiger Moth wins 2020 Kilternan Stakes
5YO Bay or Brown Mare
Dean Yendall (51.5kg)
Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)
The locally trained mare was the first horse to pass the ballot after an upset win in the Andrew Ramsden at this track over 2800m in May. Her first three runs were very plain, albeit over undesirable distances, before returning to form when third in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup. She’ll get the trip no worries and will appreciate Flemington and the lightweight. Dean Yendall will go forward on the five-year-old mare from barrier 17 and hope to stick on in the straight.
Can Oceanex win The Cup?
It wouldn’t be the first time she has upset punters, but the only thing we’ll be backing her to beat home is the ambulance. And maybe Etah James.
Oceanex 3rd to Miami Bound – 2020 Moonee Valley Cup
Miami Bound (13)
4YO Bay Mare
Daniel Moor (51kg)
The Crown Oaks winner from last year looked as though she was completely shot, failing to deliver anything since her Group 1 victory, but she bounced back in a big way last week. She got the conditions to suit – 2500m and a Heavy track – but she really did bolt in, winning by 2.5L. Trained by Danny O’Brien, she too is an out-and-out stayer who loves Flemington and will eat up two miles. From gate 13, we imagine Daniel Moor will be in the first half and look for cover around the first bend. She might need it wetter though.
Can Miami Bound win The Cup?
Her win in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup was brilliant, but we have to question her opponents. The 3200m at Flemington does suit.
Miami Bound wins 2020 Moonee Valley Cup
4YO Brown Horse
Michael Dee (51kg)
Ciaron Maher & David Eustace/h5>
Persan has been flying presently, finishing in the quinella in nine of his last 10 starts, which has included four wins at Flemington. The Maher & Eustace team look to have worked this bloke out, keeping him at the staying trips. He was very strong late over 2500m in the Bart Cummings, doing enough to hold out Sound and Steel Prince, who have both franked that form. He drops 4kg off that win and has had a soft time coming into the Cup. Barrier 20 is a concern, but we think Micky Dee will come over from the gate and look to settle in the first half a dozen.
Can Persan win The Cup?
His Flemington form suggests he is a huge chance in this, but we aren’t sure he has beaten all that much with the exception of his latest win.
Persan wins 2020 Bart Cummings
2020 Melbourne Cup Betting Preview Summary
As is always the case in the Melbourne Cup, it is a wide-open affair and we have struggled to split the top two or three. There’s plenty of winning chances in the race, but we are going to side narrowly with Ashrun after his strong win in the Lexus on Saturday. We are putting plenty of faith in a camp who knows what it takes to train a Melbourne Cup winner, and we think the big weight relief will be huge. He’s rock-hard fit and ready to tackle 3200m. Surprise Baby is our next pick in the race, considering he has been targeted towards this for a long time. Warning is our roughie. Russian Camelot is a consistent horse who also has been set for this and is a huge chance, while Tiger Moth has that big unknown that we aren’t willing to ignore.