It’s that time of year once again, as British racing fans set the alarm clocks a little earlier in preparation for one of the most famous and highly coveted flat contests of the season. 4 am UK time on Tuesday 7th November is the time and Flemington Racecourse Australia is the place for the 2023 edition of the Melbourne Cup.
With the final field confirmed and the draw made, we now have our final list of runners and riders ahead of “The Race That Stops a Nation”. With A$8 million in total prize money up for grabs, this contest invariably attracts the cream of the domestic talent, in addition to a smattering of overseas stars, and things are no different in 2023.
Lexus Melbourne Cup: Confirmed Field of Runners and Riders
|1||Gold Trip||James McDonald||Ciaron Maher & Ed Eustace|
|2||Alenquer||Damien Oliver||Michael Moroney|
|3||Without A Fight||Mark Zahra||Anthony & Sam Freedman|
|4||Breakup||Kohei Matsuyama||Tatsuya Yoshioka|
|5||Vauban||Ryan Moore||Willie Mullins|
|6||Soulcombe||Joao Moreira||Chris Waller|
|7||Absurde||Zac Purton||Willie Mullins|
|8||Right You Are||John Allen||Ciaron Maher & Ed Eustace|
|9||Vow And Declare||Billy Egan||Danny O’Brien|
|10||Cleveland||Michael Dee||Kris Lees|
|11||Ashrun||Kerrin McEvoy||Ciaron Maher & Ed Eustace|
|12||Daqiansweet Junior||Daniel Stackhouse||Phillip Stokes|
|13||Okita Soushi||Dylan Gibbons||Joseph Patrick O’Brien|
|14||Sheraz||Beau Mertens||Chris Waller|
|15||Lastotchka||Craig Williams||Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr|
|16||Magical Lagoon||Mark Du Plessis||Chris Waller|
|17||Military Mission||Rachel King||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott|
|18||Serpentine||Jye McNeil||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott|
|19||Virtuous Circle||Craig Newitt||Liam Howley|
|20||More Felons||Jamie Kah||Chris Waller|
|21||Future History||Hollie Doyle||Ciaron Maher & Ed Eustace|
|22||Interpretation||Theodore Nugent||Ciaron Maher & Ed Eustace|
|23||Kalapour||Zac Lloyd||Kris Lees|
|24||True Marvel||Ben E Thompson||Matthew A Smith|
We look set to have the shortest-priced favourite in many a year in 2023, with the Willie Mullins-trained, Rich Ricci-owned Vauban proving all the rage in the market in the lead-up to the race. High class over hurdles, having landed the 2022 Triumph Hurdle, he has proven just as smart on the flat in winning four of his six starts. The pick of those efforts came when slamming reopposing stablemate Absurde in the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot. Still relatively unexposed as a flat performer, the five-year-old is the clear pick of the overseas raiders with Ryan Moore in the saddle. Also going for Ireland is Duke of Edinburgh Stakes winner Okita Sushi. He’s amongst the rank outsiders here but hails from the yard of Joseph O’Brien, who won this in 2017 and 2020.
Another runner who will likely be familiar to British racing fans is Without A Fight, who could manage only 13th in the race for Simon and Ed Crisford in 2022. Now in the hands of Anthony and Sam Freedman, the six-year-old arrives on the back of a win in the Caulfield Cup and will be hoping for better this time around. Serpentine, meanwhile, landed the Epsom Derby for Aidan O’Brien in 2020 and returns for another crack at this prize for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, having also finished down the field in 2022.
Leading the charge for the home team is defending champion Gold Trip, who will attempt to become the sixth horse to win Australia’s greatest race on more than one occasion. He’s top of the weights but was good value for that two-length win in 2022 and seems likely to make a bold bid.
The Chris Waller-trained Soulcombe is also prominent in the early market, having shown plenty of promise since making the switch from the William Haggas yard at the back end of last season. A winner over 1m6f during his time in England, he ran a nice prep behind Without A Fight in the Caulfield Cup and represents super sire Frankel.
Of those available at bigger prices, Vow And Declare has been showing signs of being back to something like his best of late, having won this back in 2019, whilst Japanese raider Breakup is a Group 2 winner in his homeland and adds to the international flavour of what promises to be a spectacular edition.