It was a Caulfield Cup for the ages with the 146th edition of the great race won in a thriller by Without A Fight for Anthony & Sam Freedman.
The import was outstanding off a brilliant ride by now two-time Caulfield Cup winning jockey Mark Zahra who opted to stick with the Teofilo seven-year-old over the 58.5kg top-weight Gold Trip.
Last year’s runner-up and reigning Melbourne Cup winner, the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Gold Trip, was good again finishing third in the Group 1 $5 million Carlton Draught Caulfield Cup (2400m) with Ben Melham in the saddle.
The final furlong however was all about two horses, both donning yellow silks.
In front at the 200m was the Simon & Ed Crisford-trained West Wind Blows who, after missing the kick, was quick to recover and settle the fence midfield with UK jockey Jamie Spencer in the saddle.
In the end Spencer had to concede defeat to his good friend Zahra aboard Without A Fight, formerly with the Crisford stable, who dug deep off a wide run around the turn to go stride for stride before drawing a long neck clear right on the line.
“It’s good when you know the results at the end, but you’ve got to choose them before unfortunately,” the winning jockey, Zahra, told Racing.com.
“What a moment, so happy.
“I had a beautiful run and he did the rest.”
The Freedmans took Without A Fight to the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) first-up off his big winter up in Brisbane where he burst into spring calculations with two strong victories including in the Group 2 $1.2 million The Q22 (2200m).
It was a big call from the team not to go through a longer, more tradition route into the Caulfield Cup over the mile-and-a-half but the horse was best kept fresh and prevailed.
“It’s a special day,” co-trainer Sam Freedman said.
“The horse is brilliant on top of the ground.
“He went from the 1800m to the mile and a half…he’s just a good horse.”
Zahra enjoyed a second Caulfield Cup victory after his 2020 success on Verry Elleegant.
Completing the first four at triple-figures was the Annabel Neasham-trained grey Bois D’Argent ($101).
Eleven horses have completed the Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup race double in the same year, most recently Ethereal in 2001.
This year’s Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) runs at Flemington Tuesday November 7.
Without A Fight has firmed into $6 in the all-in 2023 Melbourne Cup betting markets at Ladbrokes.
2023 Caulfield Cup Results
|1||2||WITHOUT A FIGHT (IRE)||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Mark Zahra||7||55.5kg||$8.50|
|2||6||WEST WIND BLOWS (IRE)||Simon & Ed Crisford||Jamie Spencer||0.2L||2||54kg||$5.50F|
|3||1||GOLD TRIP (FR)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ben Melham||2.2L||11||58.5kg||$6.50|
|4||16||BOIS D’ARGENT (GB)||Annabel Neasham||Ms Winona Costin||3.95L||3||50.5kg||$101|
|5||11||RIGHT YOU ARE||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Michael Dee||4.15L||13||53kg||$41|
|6||18||VALIANT KING (GB)||Joseph O’Brien||Ms Jamie Kah||5.4L||1||50kg||$10|
|7||8||SOULCOMBE (GB)||Chris Waller||Craig Williams||5.5L||6||53.5kg||$8|
|8||3||BREAKUP (JPN)||Tatsuya Yoshioka||Damian Lane||5.7L||5||55kg||$10|
|9||9||DUKE DE SESSA (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||John Allen||7.7L||14||53kg||$41|
|10||19e||UNITED NATIONS (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ms Carleen Hefel (a)||8.2L||17||50kg||$91|
|11||10||HOO YA MAL (GB)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||9.7L||8||53kg||$10|
|12||14||OKITA SOUSHI (IRE)||Joseph O’Brien||Kerrin McEvoy||9.9L||12||51.5kg||$31|
|13||4||MONTEFILIA||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||10.1L||9||54.5kg||$11|
|14||17||SPIRIT RIDGE (GB)||Annabel Neasham||Dean Yendall||12.35L||10||50.5kg||$21|
|15||15||FAME||Peter G Moody & Katherine Coleman||Craig Newitt||13.1L||16||51kg||$201|
|16||13||GOLDMAN (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Ms Linda Meech||14.1L||18||52kg||$81|
|17||5||FRANCESCO GUARDI (IRE)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||14.3L||15||54kg||$26|
|18||12||EMISSARY (GB)||Michael Moroney||Jye McNeil||26.3L||4||52kg||$101|
|7||NONCONFORMIST||Grahame Begg||Harry Coffey||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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