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Jockey's gutsy call pays off for Melbourne Cup win

Luke Kirkness,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 Nov 2023, 10:05am
Photo / Getty
Photo / Getty

Jockey's gutsy call pays off for Melbourne Cup win

Luke Kirkness,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 Nov 2023, 10:05am

Melbourne Cup day is here. 

Here are all the details about what you need to know about the race that stops a nation at Flemington Track, including who are the favourites to win the cup, when the cup runs, who is in the cup, how far and how long the race takes. 

There has been a late scratching so be aware to remove number 10 Cleveland from any sweepstakes. Kiwi jockey Michael Dee was set to ride the Irish-trained galloper. The horse had earlier been cleared by Racing Victoria veterinarians but the Moonee Valley Gold Cup winner had an elevated temperature and was removed from the race field. 

Racing Victoria stewards will make a call this morning on whether Alenquer (2) will race. The horse is set to be ridden by Australian racing icon Damien Oliver in his Melbourne Cup farewell. 

Melbourne Cup 2023 field 

  1. Gold Trip (2)58.5kg James McDonald - Fixed: WIN $6.50 PLACE $2.40, Tote: WIN $7.00 PLACE $2.50

Defending champ Gold Trip aims for repeat Melbourne Cup wins, last achieved by Makybe Diva (2004/05). He’s in form winning the Turnbull Stakes followed by top runs in the Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup. Superstar James McDonald, on board with weight the biggest concern. 

  1. Alenquer (9)56.5kg Damien Oliver - Fixed: WIN $41.00 PLACE $9.00, Tote: WIN $33.90 PLACE $11.30

Michael Moroney’s French stayer Alenquer is le longue shot. Hasn’t run a place in nine starts since a Group 1 win in Ireland, in May last year. Never sighted in the recent Moonee Valley Gold Cup, following a fair fifth in the Might And Power. Damien Oliver needs a miracle in his final Cup race. 

  1. Without A Fight (16) 56.5kg Mark Zahra - Fixed WIN $6.00 PLACE $2.30, Tote: WIN $8.90 PLACE $2.60

Super win in Caulfield Cup, in-form former English stayer is going for a rare Cup double, having thrived being trained in Australia by the Freedmans. Has to overcome his 1kg penalty and the memory of last year’s failure in the same race when stepping up to the 3200m. 

  1. Break Up (18)55kg Kohei Matsuyama - Fixed: WIN $16.00 PLACE $4.80, Tote: WIN $16.40 PLACE $5.80

Japanese runner Breakup is a Grade 2 winner, who was fourth under a huge weight in the Group 1 Tenno Sho over 2m underlining his staying credentials. A little unlucky when 8th in the Caulfield Cup after 4 months off. With 55kg and top Japanese jockey aboard, is a threat on a firm track. 

  1. Vauban (3) 55kg Ryan Moore - Fixed: WIN $4.20 PLACE $1.80, Tote: WIN $6.40 PLACE $2.50

Was a listed winner in France before joining the legendary Willie Mullins’ Irish yard where he won two Grade 1 hurdles before switching back to the flat for a brilliant Group 3 victory at Royal Ascot. Mullins brought a hurdler to run second in 2015, and this horse is favoured to go one better. 

  1. Soulcombe (4)53.5kg Joao Moreira - Fixed: WIN $10.00 PLACE $3.30, Tote: WIN $9.20 PLACE $3.40

From Kiwi ex-pat Chris Waller’s stable, this imported son of Frankel won the 2600m Queen’s Cup at Flemington when younger and brings solid form before a battling seventh after missing the jump in the Caulfield Cup. Untested at 3200m but has potential and a real turn of foot. 

  1. Absurde (8)53kg Zac Purton - Fixed: WIN $12.00 PLACE $3.80, Tote: WIN $11.20 PLACE $3.80

Irish legend Willie Mullins’ stablemate to favourite Vauban, this dour French gelding stayed on strongly to win the English golden ticket Ebor Handicap. Also a winner over 2m4f hurdles so will handle the Melbourne Cup’s distance easily especially with Zac Purton riding at a light 53kg 

  1. Right You Are (15) 53kg John Allen - Fixed: WIN $51.00 PLACE $11.00, Tote: WIN $30.90 PLACE $9.60

Maher/Eustace’s Right You Are was in remarkable form last season with 6 wins in 7 starts. Has yet to quite recapture that form but was an encouraging fifth in the Caulfield Cup, and comes in with 53kg and John Allen aboard as a bit of a dark horse. The 3200m trip is also a concern. 

  1. Vow And Declare (19)53kg Billy Egan - Fixed: WIN $21.00 PLACE $6.00, Tote: WIN $20.80 PLACE $5.60

Vow And Declare is aiming for a second Melbourne Cup victory, and coming back into serious form with 2 top runs for 2nd at both Caulfield and Moonee Valley recently. With just 53kg he’s seeking to become the first horse since Peter Pan to reclaim the Cup title years apart. 

  1. Cleveland (23)SCRATCHED
  2. Ashrun (11) 51.5kg Kerrin McEvoy - Fixed: WIN $31.00 PLACE $7.50, Tote: WIN $24.40 PLACE $9.60

Maher & Eustace’s 8-year-old Ashrun secures another attempt in the Melbourne Cup after a strong 2nd in the Geelong Cup. He was 10th in the 2020 Melbourne Cup and returned from injury this September, showing promising form. Three-time winner Kerrin McEvoy rides at 51.5kg. Good chance 

  1. Daqiansweet Junior (12) 51.5kg Daniel Stackhouse - Fixed: WIN $81.00 PLACE $18.00, Tote: WIN $43.20 PLACE $12.20

Philip Stokes’ Kiwi-bred gelding was one of the standouts from last season’s Melbourne Cup when finishing on strongly for a very good sixth, showing he relished the 3200m trip. He has been showing improved form in his last three runs after an eight-month layoff and looks to be set for this 

  1. Okita Soushi (20) 51.5kg Dylan Gibbons (a) - Fixed: WIN $81.00 PLACE $18.00, Tote: WIN $43.20 PLACE $12.20

Another Irish raider from Joseph O’Brien’s powerful stable, this Royal Ascot winner and two-mile specialist was disappointing in the Caulfield Cup. But with young jockey Dylan Gibbons on board, and back to a favourable longer distance with a very light weight, could surprise. 

  1. Sheraz (22) 51.5kg Beau Mertens - Fixed: WIN $101 PLACE $26, Tote: WIN $69.60 PLACE $21.90

A wet track specialist, Sheraz finished 8th in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup, just two lengths off the winner Cleveland. He’s demonstrated staying power, securing a win up to 3000m and grabbing 2nd in the 2022 Sydney Cup on a wet track, but the rest of his form is bleak. 

  1. Lastotchka (21)51kg Craig Williams - Fixed: WIN $18.00 PLACE $5.50, Tote: WIN $21.90 PLACE $7.40

Craig Williams rides French mare, eyeing his second Melbourne Cup. She won at Longchamp in a Gp3 at 3100m last start, and won another staying group race on a soft track proving her endurance. Although it’s her first race in Australia, with her weight and a soft track, she could be a big player. 

  1. Magical Lagoon (7) 51kg Mark Du Plessis - Fixed: WIN $81 PLACE $18, Tote: WIN $60.10 PLACE $18.60

This beautifully bred 5-year-old mare, an Irish Oaks and a Royal Ascot winner in 2022, has been a major disappointment since joining Chris Waller’s stable in Australia. Despite the blue blood, blue riband credentials has failed to place in any of her 5 starts Down Under. 

  1. Military Mission (5)51kg Rachel King - Fixed: WIN $21.00 PLACE $6.00, Tote: WIN $24.10 PLACE $7.10

Former Irish-bred English raced stayer Military Mission, has found success in Sydney with Gai Waterhouse, winning the G2 Herbert Power Stakes. Despite this being his first 2m race at Flemington, his light weight with top Sydney jockey Rachel King aboard, is definitely one for the combinations. 

  1. Serpentine (1)51kg Jye McNeil - Fixed: WIN $41.00 PLACE $9.00, Tote: WIN $42.00 PLACE $10.10

English Derby winner sold to Lloyd Williams (chasing his 8th Melbourne Cup), gelded and placed in the Waterhouse/Bott barn where he led last year’s Cup before fading to 20th. Showed recent form when 3rd in The Bart Cummings. Ridden by 2020′s winning jockey Jye McNeil and dropping from 58kg to 51kg. 

  1. Virtuous Circle (6)51kg Craig Newitt - Fixed: WIN $151.00 PLACE $31.00, Tote: WIN $83.40 PLACE $23.80

With a single victory from 11 races, the NZ-bred Virtuous Circle has shown glimpses of potential, finishing second in last year’s Group 1 Australian Derby, and was just 3¾ lengths behind the winner, when 10th in the Lexus Bart Cummings on October 7. But he has never tried 3200m and the odds will be lucrative. 

  1. More Felons (24)50.5kg Jamie Kah - Fixed: WIN $31.00 PLACE $7.50, Tote: WIN $33.00 PLACE $10.00

A former Irish hurdler, More Felons, (formerly Scriptwriter), caught the eye with a strong 5th in the Geelong Cup, showing late speed in his first start for Chris Waller since joining his stable. Still only young in staying terms, he’s proven up to 3381m and comes in with a very light weight. 

  1. Future History (13)50kg Hollie Doyle - Fixed: WIN $18.00 PLACE $5.50, Tote: WIN $19.50 PLACE $6.70

From the powerful Maher/Eustace’s stable, this in-form 6-yearold former European earned entry into the race with a beautifully rated front-running victory in the Lexus Bart Cummings. With new jockey, English star Hollie Doyle riding at a light 50kg, he is a strong contender with only the 3200m trip a concern. 

  1. Interpretation (17)50kg Teo Nugent - Fixed: WIN $101.00 PLACE $21.00, Tote: WIN $56.40 PLACE $16.90

Dour stayers run to win the Bendigo Cup has put this Maher/Eustace former Irish-bred French raced gelding back in the field for a second shot at cup, after being pulled up last year. Has been gelded and given a 9 month break but has failed to impress many pundits with mixed efforts since. 

  1. Kalapour (14)50kg Zac Lloyd (a) - Fixed: WIN $31.00 PLACE $7.50, Tote: WIN $46.60 PLACE $10.60

Won Lexus Archer last chance race on Saturday, this Irish import displayed solid form previously, placing 3rd in his two previous races against the likes of Cleveland. He is aiming to be the first horse to win the race, formerly known as the Hotham Handicap since Shocking in 2009. 

  1. True Marvel (10)50kg Ben Thompson - Fixed: WIN $126.00 PLACE $26.00, Tote: WIN $66.70 PLACE $28.00

True Marvel, an 8-year-old French gelding, has struggled this season, notably at Moonee Valley against Melbourne Cup runners. With 8 career wins and trained by Matthew Smith, he’s shown potential at 2m but needs a big turnaround to impact the race. 

How much is the Melbourne Cup prize money? 

$9,184,557 (A$8,410,000) 

What time is the Melbourne Cup in New Zealand? 

5pm on Tuesday, November 7 at Flemington Track in Melbourne. 

Melbourne Cup at the TAB from Ryan Cook 

1 Without A Fight, No. 6 Breakup 

Caulfield Cup winner Without A Fight still looks to have big scope for improvement. 

The Irish sensation over-raced and was a little flat-footed on debut in the Underwood Stakes when beaten 2.25 lengths by Alligator Blood, but he quickly put any doubts to rest when exploding down the centre of the straight to deny West Wind Blows and Gold Trip a month later. 

Mark Zahra’s decision to stick with him bares plenty of respect, and unlike others, there’s no query out to 3200m after contesting last year’s edition. 

By Novellist, Breakup was a Group 2 winner in Tokyo this time last year, more recently going on to run fourth behind the impressive Justin Palace in the Group 1 Tenno Sho over 3200m at Kyoto. 

His debut at Caulfield a couple of weeks ago was much better than it reads, finding the centre of the straight out of the turn before being squeezed badly between a pair of runners where he eventually settled for eighth. 

Experienced over the trip with long-time Japanese jockey Kohei Matsuyama on board this time, a win certainly wouldn’t shock. 

How long is the Melbourne Cup? 

The race used to be two miles but was later shortened to 3200 metres (an 18.66-metre difference) after Australia switched to the metric system in 1972. The race is roughly one-and-a-half times around the Flemington track. 

Kingston Rule holds the record for the fastest time around the track, set by the American-bred horse in 1990 at 3 minutes, 16 seconds and 3 milliseconds. The only other runner to finish the race under 3 minutes and 17 seconds was 2002 winner Media Puzzle, with a time of 3:16:97. 

How to watch the Melbourne Cup in New Zealand 

You can stream the 2023 Melbourne Cup for free on TVNZ+ or Sky Sports. 

Melbourne Cup explained 

The 2023 Melbourne Cup, referred to as the “Race that Stops a Nation”, is one of Australia’s most anticipated sports events. The Melbourne Cup held its first race back in 1861 and was declared a public holiday in 1877. 

The race has been competed each year aside from an intermission during the war years. 

The winning trophy contains 1.65kg of 18ct Gold estimated at over A$200,000. Each cup takes over 250 hours to complete. W.J. Sanders has produced each Melbourne Cup from 2016 to present. 

Melbourne Cup facts 

Ten of the last 13 winners were bred in the Northern Hemisphere. Of the remainder, two were bred in New Zealand and one was bred in Australia. 

Gold Trip is the only Melbourne Cup winner in the last 10 years, which won in 2022, not to have finished in the top four at their previous start. 

Nine of the last 14 winners have won at one of their previous two starts 

Gold Trip (2022) and Makybe Diva (2005) are the only horses to have carried the No.1 saddlecloth to victory since 1954 

Male and female horses explained 

A filly is a female horse under four years of age. A colt is a male horse under the age of four that has not been castrated. 

A foal is a female or male horse under the age of one. A female foal is known as a filly foal and a male is known as a colt foal. 

A mare is a horse that is four years or older and a stallion is a male horse four years or older. 

A gelding is a male horse of any age that has been castrated. 

New Zealand success at the Melbourne Cup 

1883: Martini Henry 

1890: Carbine 

1907: Apologue 

1916: Sasanof (NZ Trained) 

1929: Nightmarch (NZ Trained) 

1930: Phar Lap 

1936: Wotan (NZ Trained) 

1938: Catalogue (NZ Trained) 

1947: Hiraji 

1949: Foxzami 

1952: Dalray (NZ Trained) 

1954: Rising Fast (NZ Trained) 

1955: Toparoa 

1957: Straight Draw 

1959: Macdougal 

1960: Hi-Jinx (NZ Trained) 

1962: Even Stevens (NZ Trained) 

1964: Polo Prince (NZ Trained) 

1965: Light Fingers 

1966: Galilee 

1967: Red Handed 

1970: Baghdad Note (NZ Trained) 

1971: Silver Knight (NZ Trained) 

1974: Think Big 

1975: Think Big 

1976: Van der Hum (NZ Trained) 

1977: Gold and Black 

1978: Arwon 

1979: Hyperno 

1982: Gurner’s Lane 

1983: Kiwi (NZ Trained) 

1985: What a Nuisance 

1987: Kensei 

1988: Empire Rose (NZ Trained) 

1989: Tawrrific 

1991: Let’s Elope 

1995: Doriemus 

1997: Might and Power 

1998: Jezabeel 

2000: Brew (NZ Trained) 

2001: Ethereal (NZ Trained) 

2007: Efficient 

2015: Prince of Penzance 

2021: Verry Elleegant 

The previous five Melbourne Cup winners 

2022: Gold Trip 

2021: Verry Elleegant 

2020: Twilight Payment 

2019: Vow and Declare 

2018: Cross Counter 

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