Melbourne Cup 2021: Results, Runners & Prize Money

The home team boasted a warm favourite in the 2021 Melbourne Cup in the shape of the Peter Moody-trained Incentivise. A perfect four from four in his career heading into the race, he was hugely impressive when landing the Caulfield Cup, and looked the one they all had to beat – if handling this four-furlong step up in trip. Next best in the betting from the Australian contingent was the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace gelding, Floating Artist. Formerly based with Richard Hannon in the UK, this one had caught the eye of many when finishing well for second in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup. The popular mare, Verry Elleegant returned for another crack at the prize, having finished with a flourish for seventh in 2020.

The headline act amongst the overseas raiders was the Joseph O’Brien-trained winner of that 2020 edition, Twilight Payment. Being saddled with top weight would make life tougher this time around, but he had posted an excellent effort in his most recent outing, when second in the Irish St Leger. Andrew Balding’s Spanish Mission was another bringing strong form from the other side of the world, having been beaten just a head by the mighty Stradivarius in the Lonsdale Cup at York.


  • 1st – Verry Elleegant 17/1, Jockey: James McDonald, Trainer: Chris Waller
  • 2nd – Incentivise 19/10F, Jockey: Brett Prebble, Trainer: Peter Moody
  • 3rd – Spanish Mission 9/1, Jockey: Craig Williams, Trainer: Ciaron Andrew Balding
  • 4th – Floating Artist 10/1, Jockey: Teodore Nugent, Trainer: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Prize Money Breakdown

  • 1st – £2,584,269.66
  • 2nd – £617,977.53
  • 3rd – £308,988.76
  • 4th – £196,629.21
  • 5th – £129,213.48
  • 6th – £89,887.64
  • 7th – £89,887.64
  • 8th – £89,887.64
  • 9th – £89,887.64
  • 10th – £89,887.64
  • 11th – £89,887.64
  • 12th – £89,887.64

Tote and Forecast Payouts

  • Tote Win – $18
  • Tote Places – 1st – $4.50, 2nd – $2, 3rd – $3.40
  • Exacta – $72.20
  • Trifecta – $436.20


The riders all made a beeline for the inside rail once the stalls opened, resulting in a fair amount of congestion. This was not helped by the fact that none of the riders seemed particularly keen on making the running. In the end, it was left to Persan and Knights Order to take them into the first bend. Incentivise had fared better than many in the early scrimmaging and moved up to sit just off the leader as they came out of the turn. Spanish Mission had secured a decent spot in seventh, but defending champ Twilight Payment would need a lot of luck from his position back in the field.

There was little change in the back straight, but as they came out of the home turn, Incentivise looked to be in with a real shot of rewarding favourite backers when taking up the running. There were however dangers beginning to emerge from the pack – none more threatening than Verry Elleegant, who loomed into contention on the heels of the leading pack. Over two furlongs out, the mare made her move, swooping past Incentivise in supreme style to quickly pull three lengths clear. Incentivise stuck on well for second, whilst the proven stamina of Spanish Mission was rewarded with an excellent third-placed effort. But this race belonged to one of the most popular Australian horses in training.

It was the 10th Group 1 success for the impressive winner, who became the first mare to come home in front since the great three-time winner, Makybe Diva (2003, 2004, 2005). It was also a first win in the race for Chris Waller and a jubilant James McDonald.


  • 1. Twilight Payment – SP: 12/1, Trainer: Joseph O’Brien, Jockey: Jye McNeil
  • 2. Incentivise – SP: 19/10F, Trainer: Peter Moody, Jockey: Brett Prebble
  • 3. Spanish Mission – SP: 9/1, Trainer: Andrew Balding, Jockey: Craig Williams
  • 4. Verry Elleegant – SP: 17/1, Trainer: Chris Waller, Jockey: James McDonald
  • 5. Explosive Jack – SP: 50/1, Trainer: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Jockey: John Allen
  • 6. The Chosen One – SP: 30/1, Trainer: Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman, Jockey: Damian Lane
  • 7. Delphi – SP: 18/1, Trainer: Anthony & Sam Freedman, Jockey: Damien Oliver
  • 8. Ocean Billy – SP: 30/1, Trainer: Chris Waller, Jockey: Damien Thornton
  • 9. Selino – SP: 80/1, Trainer: Chris Waller, Jockey: Ronnie Stewart
  • 10. Johnny Get Angry – SP: 90/1, Trainer: Denis Pagan, Jockey: Lachlan King
  • 11. Knights Order – SP: 100/1, Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, Jockey: Daniel Stackhouse
  • 12. Persan – SP: 30/1, Trainer: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Jockey: Luke Currie
  • 13. Carif – SP: 100/1, Trainer: Peter & Paul Snowden, Jockey: Blaike McDougall
  • 14. Master Of Wine – SP: 90/1, Trainer: Michael Wayne & John Hawkes, Jockey: Fred Kersley
  • 15. Pondus – SP: 20/1, Trainer: Robert Hickmott, Jockey: Rachel King
  • 16. Grand Promenade – SP: 14/1, Trainer: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy
  • 17. Miami Bound – SP: 150/1, Trainer: Danny O’Brien, Jockey: Patrick Moloney
  • 18. Port Guillaume – SP: 100/1, Trainer: Ben & JD Hayes, Jockey: Harry Coffey
  • 19. She’s Ideel – SP: 100/1, Trainer: Bjorn Baker, Jockey: Craig Newitt
  • 20. Future Score – Non-runner
  • 21. Tralee Rose – SP: 20/1, Trainer: Symon Wilde, Jockey: Dean Holland
  • 22. Floating Artist – SP: 10/1, Trainer: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Jockey: Teodore Nugent
  • 23. Great House – SP: 25/1, Trainer: Chris Waller, Jockey: Michael Dee
  • 24. Sir Lucan – SP: 25/1, Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, Jockey: Glen Boss


Future Score