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Lexus Melbourne Cup nominees land in Melbourne

10 October 2021 Written by VRC

Lexus Melbourne Cup defending champion Twilight Payment and other nominees Spanish Mission, Away He Goes and Sir Lucan have landed safely in Melbourne overnight.

The quartet travelled from the UK and settled in to the Werribee International Horse Center (WIHC) where they will train over the coming weeks under the watchful eye of handlers and Racing Victoria veterinary staff.

Spanish Mission (Andrew Balding) and Away He Goes (Ismail Mohammed) will compete to become just the second UK-trained winner of the Lexus Melbourne Cup while Twilight Payment and trainer Joseph O’Brien look to continue the great record of Irish-trained horses in the world’s richest two-mile race.

Twilight Payment led all the way in the Lexus Melbourne Cup last year and arrives in arguably better form this year, having won the Group 3 Irish St Leger Trial and running second in the Group 1 Irish St Leger last start.

Sporting the famous navy and while colours of Lloyd Williams, Twilight Payment was allocated 58kg in the Lexus Melbourne Cup while Spanish Mission has 57kg thanks to strong form in Group 2 and Group 1 races in the UK.

Away He Goes has been allocated 54kg in the Lexus Melbourne Cup and will be the first runner for his trainer Ismail Mohammed. 

Sir Lucan is on a one-way ticket having been transferred to the care of Cup-winning trainer and VRC Ambassador Gai Waterhouse and her co-trainer Adrian Bott. Sir Lucan currently sits 47th in the order of entry for the Lexus Melbourne Cup and connections will have to wait to see if he gains a start. 

Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Executive General Manager Racing Leigh Jordon said the quality of the international arrivals was exceptional.

“Twilight Payment, Spanish Mission and Away He Goes are three of the best stayers in the world,” Mr Jordon said.

 “All three horses are seasoned travellers and it’s pleasing to hear they have arrived at Werribee in good condition.

“A large part of their road to the Lexus Melbourne Cup is complete and we look forward to seeing these fine-tuned athletes line up in the great race in 23 days’ time.”

The Lexus Melbourne Cup will be run on Tuesday 2 November as part of the iconic Melbourne Cup Carnival which begins with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 30 October and also features Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 4 November and Mackinnon Stakes Day on Saturday 6 November.

All the action from the 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival can be seen live and free on Network 10 and 10 Play on demand.

Third declarations for the Lexus Melbourne Cup must be submitted by noon on Tuesday 12 October.

Internationally-trained winners of the Melbourne Cup:

YEAR HORSE TRAINER COUNTRY
1993 Vintage Crop Dermot Weld IRE
2002 Media Puzzle Dermot Weld IRE
2006 Delta Blues Katsuhiko Sumii JPN
2010 Americain Alain de Royer Dupre FRA
2014 Protectionist Andreas Wohler GER
2017 Rekindling Joseph O'Brien IRE
2018 Cross Counter Charlie Appleby UK
2020 Twilight Payment Joseph O'Brien IRE

Image: Twilight Payment arrived safely overnight in Melbourne for a shot at the 2021 Lexus Melbourne Cup (Image: Racing Photos)