Reigning champ Twilight Payment tops Melbourne Cup weights

Twilight Payment
The Joseph O’Brien-trained Twilight Payment will have to carry a top weight of 58kg if he is to defend his title on the first Tuesday in November. (Racing Photos)

The weights for both the 2021 Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup have been released by Racing Victoria, with Twilight Payment allocated the top weight of 58kg should he look to go back-to-back in the race that stops a nation, while Sir Dragonet tops the Caulfield Cup weights.

A total of 124 horses remain in contention for the 161st running of the Melbourne Cup, while 109 gallopers will battle it out for a spot in the Caulfield Cup field.

Last year’s respective winners, Twilight Payment (Melbourne Cup) and Verry Elleegant (Caulfield Cup), each rise 2.5kg in their quest to defend their titles.

Twilight Payment shares the top weight with Ebor Handicap and Irish St Leger winner Sonnyboyliston; however, connections have advised he will not be making the trek to Australia.

“As always there is plenty of debate over the weights scale for the cups which will no doubt continue over the coming weeks, but after his all-the-way win in last year’s Melbourne Cup there is little doubt that Twilight Payment deserves to be at the top of the weights for the 2021 edition of Australia’s greatest race,” said Greg Carpenter, RV’s Executive General Manager – Racing.

“In his fascinating duel with Twilight Payment in the Irish St Leger in the early hours of Monday morning, Sonnyboyliston again showed that he is a rapidly progressing stayer having won what is considered Europe’s biggest staying handicap on his previous start, and so he is worthy of carrying the joint topweight of 58kg.

“Neither horse holds an entry for the Caulfield Cup and so the topweight of 58kg for Caulfield’s showpiece occasion has been allocated to Sir Dragonet, who was such a dominant winner of the 2020 Cox Plate and showed he will again be a force this spring with his fast-finishing third in the Makybe Diva Stakes.

“The winner of that race, Incentivise, is one of the most exciting horses to burst onto the scene in recent times and also one of the most challenging to assess after his performances in Queensland over their winter carnival, which culminated in a 12-length romp in the Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup.

“He beat some quality opposition in the Makybe Diva Stakes, with Group 1 winners filling the next four places, and only time will tell whether we have been too harsh or too kind in allocating him 55.5kg in both cups.

Incentivise at Makybe Diva Stakes (Picture: Reg Ryan—Racing Photos)

“With today’s release of weights for the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup, connections can now start plotting a path towards their respective targets whilst form analysts and punters can keep an even closer eye on how their fancied runners fare as they build towards securing a start in two of Australia’s marquee races.”

Connections of Realm Of Flowers will be happy with their mare’s weight in the Melbourne Cup (51kg), given that she is exempt from the ballot after a dominant win in the Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) in May, while Mount Popa will carry 52.5kg in the Caulfield Cup, where he is guaranteed a start after winning the Mornington Cup for Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes.

The 2019 Melbourne Cup winner, Vow And Declare, drops from the 57kg that he carried in 2020 to 54.5kg in his quest to win his second Melbourne Cup, while last year’s third-placegetter, The Chosen One, rises 0.5kg to 54kg.

Three-time derby winner Explosive Jack has been allocated 54kg in his quest to add a Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup to his resume, 1kg more than fellow derby winners Johnny Get Angry and Kukeracha will have to carry, while Queensland Oaks winner Duais gets in light with 51kg in both cups.

Second acceptances for the Caulfield Cup will be taken a week from now, at midday on Tuesday, September 21, while the second acceptances for the Melbourne Cup will be taken seven days later on September 28.

The release of these weights has prompted little change to futures markets at this stage, although Incentivise has firmed once again from $4.50 to $4.20 favouritism in the Caulfield Cup, which will be run on October 16.

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