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The Lloyd and Nick Williams-owned Twilight Payment heads Melbourne Cup weights with 58kg, a rise of 2.5kg on last year’s winning weight.

Greg Carpenter, Racing Victoria Executive General Manager Racing, says the release of weights for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups has had a different feel than in previous years.

The introduction of stringent veterinary checks for international runners has led to a lower number of runners entered for the Cups this year.

Melbourne Cup weights ⚖: View the list of 2021 Melbourne Cup weights

Nominations closed early in August with a round of first declarations before weights were released on Tuesday for the Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 16 and the Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 2.

Carpenter was left to weight 109 horses for the Caulfield Cup and 124 in the Melbourne, well-down on previous years which comes about because of the pre-travel veterinary requirements and the lack of flights into Melbourne for stablehands.

Last year’s winner Twilight Payment heads the Melbourne Cup weights with last weekend’s Irish St Leger winner Sonnyboyliston on 58kg.

Sonnyboyliston will not be travelling to Australia this year while the weight given Twilight Payment is a 2.5kg rise on last year’s winning weight.

Last year’s Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet has been allocated 57.5kg while Caulfield Cup winner Verry Elleegant has 57kg.

Both finished behind Twilight Payment in last year’s Cup and Carpenter was mindful of wanting to give both some relief after meeting the Cup winner at level weights.

Sir Dragonet has 58kg and Verry Elleegant 57.5kg in this year’s Caulfield Cup in which they head the weights from the Andrew Balding-trained Spanish Mission who has 57kg in both Cups.

Spanish Mission is in quarantine in the UK ahead of his arrival in Melbourne on September 25.

International representation in the Melbourne Cup rests, at this stage, with Twilight Payment, Spanish Mission and Away He Goes (54.5kg) while a query remains on Rodrigo Diaz (51kg) and Sir Lucan (50kg) as to whether they will travel.

Gold Trip, who has a first target of the Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 23, is entered in the Melbourne Cup in which he has 57kg for new trainers Ciaron Maher & David Eustace.

Like Spanish Mission, Gold Trip is due into Melbourne on September 25.

Other notable weights in the release were 2019 Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare (54.5kg) down from 57kg he had in 2020.

The Danny O’Brien-trained stayer carried 52kg in his Cup success.

Three-time Derby winner Explosive Jack has 54kg in both races, VRC Derby winner Johnny Get Angry (53kg), Queensland Derby winner Kukeracha (53kg) while Australian Oaks winner Duais has 51kg.

The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained Forgot You (49kg) is the only three-year-old entered in the Melbourne Cup.

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