Who are the top international runners in the 2021 Melbourne Cup?

Twilight Payment wins Melbourne Cup

While it is not a traditional Melbourne Cup field this year, there is still a number of competitive international runners in the mix. The 24 horses in the 2021 Melbourne Cup include several formerly or currently overseas-trained runners, including last year’s winner, Twilight Payment. A number of international runners in this year’s Melbourne Cup have been regulars on our shores in the past year or so, while there are also a couple of imports who are now trained locally and have had a handful of runs under their belt in Australia. HorseBetting’s racing analysts have taken a look at all of the international runners in the 2021 Melbourne Cup.


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 who 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.


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 horses 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.

Want to know more about Australia’s most famous race? See our 2021 Melbourne Cup guide.

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