Jye McNeil bidding for back-to-back Melbourne Cups

Twilight Payment does not have a lot going for him in his bid for back-to-back Melbourne Cup victories but that has not swayed Jye Mcneil from taking the ride.

No nine-year-old, which Twilight Payment is under southern hemisphere time, has won the Cup and only Makybe Diva, in the third of her victories, has carried 58kg, since Think Big won with 58.5kg in the second of his wins in 1975.

But on a positive note, trainer Joseph O’Brien is making the trip from Ireland to watch Tuesday’s 3200m race as he bids to claim a third Melbourne Cup having also won with Rekindling in 2017.

Twilight Payment last year was McNeil’s first ride in the Cup which he described as overwhelming.

“I went into it with not a lot of pressure and knowing what I had to do,” McNeil said.

“I wasn’t sure of the speed and tempo I needed to go being my first ride in the Cup, but I was very pleased when it all came together and worked out the way it did.”

Twilight Payment carried 55.5kg last year and was a relative outsider at $26 whereas on Tuesday he is currently the $13 third favourite with TAB behind Incentivise ($2.80) and Spanish Mission ($12).

Whereas Twilight Payment was able to dictate the pace having drawn barrier 12, it will be a different scenario from gate two on Tuesday.

“He’s an on-pace runner and it will be important in the early stages to be holding our position from barrier two and make sure we get into the best possible position that suits him,” McNeil said.

“There will be a bit of pressure coming from out wide and we’ll have to see where we fit in, but all reports are the team are very happy with where he is at and travelled over and I’m very fortunate to be on him again this year.”

Last year McNeil won a crowdless Cup and this year there will be 10,000 on course, a tenth of a normal Cup Day crowd.

“I’ve been there on other days when I haven’t ridden in the Cup but ridden on the day, so I have experienced the atmosphere, but obviously not when I won it,” McNeil said.

“It would be good to get him home and to also give him a cheer for last year as well.”

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