2023 Caulfield Cup Field Update: No. 7 Nonconformist (19) has been scratched after failing his final vet check. First emergency No. 19 United Nations gets a start from out wide in barrier 17.
Jockey Ben Melham has picked up the ride on reigning Melbourne Cup champion Gold Trip when the galloper looks to go one better than his second last year in the Group 1 $5 million Carlton Draught Caulfield Cup (2400m) on Saturday.
The French-bred son of Outstrip was narrow runner-up from barrier 11 to Durston in the 2022 Caulfield Cup results, and has come up with the same gate in this year’s field.
The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained seven-year-old will carry the 58.5kg top-weight, which Melham said he deserves, is now favourite in betting at Ladbrokes to win this on way to his title defence in the Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) on Tuesday November 7.
“I’ve only just found out I’m riding the horse,” Melham told Racing.com after the official 2023 Caulfield Cup barrier draw on Wednesday evening.
“I think the draws are somewhat irrelevant with him with his racing pattern, but my initial thought is I’m really happy to be riding the horse.
“Couldn’t be happier with his two runs this time in, it all seems to be going better than ever.
“Hopefully he can go one better (than last year). He seems to be going better this year, which is hard to imagine.
“He’s a find his feet horse and he finds a rhythm. He’s got the weight, but he’s earned it, and I can’t see him running badly.”
Gold Trip was last seen returning to winning form with an impressive upset at Flemington in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000) with improvement pending as he gets out to the mile-and-a-half on Saturday.
Second best in the updated Caulfield Cup betting markets this spring is one-time favourite Soulcombe with the son of Frankel looking to hand trainer Chris Waller with his third win in four years.
Waller has prepared recently Caulfield Cup winners Verry Elleegant (2020) and Durston (2022) and saddles-up three in this year’s field led by Soulcombe.
The top elect jumps from the gun barrier six draw, which produced Durston last year, and has seen three Caulfield Cup winners start from there since 2008.
Waller’s other runners are last start Group 2 $2 million Hill Stakes winning mare Montefilia (barrier nine) who ran fourth last year and Francesco Guardi (barrier 15).
Barrier 1 was drawn by one of the five international 2023 Caulfield Cup contenders with the Joseph O’Brien-trained Valliant King to jump from the inside alley with Jamie Kah aboard on the 50kg light-weight.
O’Brien also saddles-up Okita Soushi to be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy from gate 12.
Nonconformist drew the outside alley (barrier 19 into 18) which has produced two recent champions in Incentivise (2021) and Dunaden (2012).
The only Caulfield Cup emergency, United Nations, drew barrier 17.
The other overseas’ raiders in the mix are multiple Group 1 place-getter West Wind Blows ($6) for Simon & Ed Crisford who Jamie Spencer will ride from barrier two and Japanese galloper Breakup ($9) in gate five for jockey Damian Lane.
The 2023 Caulfield Cup will run as Caulfield Race 9 at 5:15pm (AEDT) on Saturday’s 10-race card in Melbourne.
2023 Caulfield Cup Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||91x2570x41||GOLD TRIP (FR)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ben Melham||11||58.5kg||122|
|2||11x20x11x6||WITHOUT A FIGHT (IRE)||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Mark Zahra||7||55.5kg||115|
|3||2x110x340x||BREAKUP (JPN)||Tatsuya Yoshioka||Damian Lane||5||55kg||114|
|4||x5229x8631||MONTEFILIA||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn (late alt)||9||54.5kg||112|
|5||232821×057||FRANCESCO GUARDI (IRE)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||15||54kg||112|
|6||613×312322||WEST WIND BLOWS (IRE)||Simon & Ed Crisford||Jamie Spencer||2||54kg||115|
|8||x1x682x143||SOULCOMBE (GB)||Chris Waller||Craig Williams||6||53.5kg||115|
|9||2x131x8x06||DUKE DE SESSA (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||John Allen||14||53kg||110|
|10||223180×572||HOO YA MAL (GB)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||8||53kg||111|
|11||111121×250||RIGHT YOU ARE||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Michael Dee||13||53kg||114|
|12||12x530x950||EMISSARY (GB)||Michael Moroney||Jye McNeil||4||52kg||108|
|13||31x111x960||GOLDMAN (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Ms Linda Meech||18||52kg||108|
|14||00x11x513x||OKITA SOUSHI (IRE)||Joseph O’Brien||Kerrin McEvoy||12||51.5kg||109|
|15||x641127x89||FAME||Peter G Moody & Katherine Coleman||Craig Newitt||16||51kg||111|
|16||x531523267||BOIS D’ARGENT (GB)||Annabel Neasham||Ms Winona Costin||3||50.5kg||107|
|17||33×6523322||SPIRIT RIDGE (GB)||Annabel Neasham||Dean Yendall||10||50.5kg||113|
|18||34×21225||VALIANT KING (GB)||Joseph O’Brien||Ms Jamie Kah||1||50kg||109|
|19e||7x41x95232||UNITED NATIONS (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ms Carleen Hefel (a)||17||50kg||97|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.