2023 Melbourne Cup Field Update: No. Cleveland (23) was withdrawn on Monday evening due to an elevated temperature.
The 163rd running of the Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) takes place on Tuesday, November 7, and the official final field and barrier draw for the classic are now complete.
Long time favourite Vauban hails from the Irish stables of Willie Mullins and is well-supported to steal the show after coming up trumps with barrier three.
Tuesday marks his maiden run down under but the talented Galiway gelding was enormous in his early Flemington trackwork.
A champion hurdler and flat racing star at home, he has a brilliant two-mile strike-rate (5:2-2-1) and will take the power of beating with Ryan Moore aboard on 55kg.
Fellow Irish raider Media Puzzle prepared by Dermot K Weld back in 2002 was the last Melbourne Cup winner from barrier three.
Updated Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes have Vauban into $3.30 and firming to be the next.
Mullins also saddles-up Vauban’s underrated stablemate Absurde with the Fastnet Rock six-year-old in on 53kg.
Absurde was last seen saluting in the Ebor Handicap (2816m) at York in late August to punch his ticket into the Melbourne Cup field with a hefty 60.5kg on his back.
He also drew favourably in Saturday evening’s Melbourne Cup barrier draw with gate eight that has produced 5 wins with the last being Viewed in 2008.
Dermot K Weld also prepared the inaugural Melbourne Cup winner from outside of Australia and New Zealand back in 1993 with Vintage Crop.
Since then the internationals have put together a dominant record in the ‘Race That Stops a Nation’ with the last to beat home the locals being Twilight Payment for Joseph O’Brien in 2020.
O’Brien celebrated his second success that year having earlier prepared Rekindling (2017) and is back with one remaining runner in the 2023 Melbourne Cup field in Okita Soushi after Valiant King was withdrawn due to lameness on Friday evening.
Dour Japanese star, Breakup, looking to atone for his unplaced Caulfield Cup performance last time out is the other raider in the mix and Tatsuya Yoshioka is in town for the prized ride.
Breakup suffered an early blow drawing out in gate 18 with Verry Elleegant in 2021 the first ever Melbourne Cup winner from that barrier.
Gold Trip took out the Melbourne Cup last year with the 57.5kg topweight in an upset and returns at much shorter odds looking to become the first to win multiple editions of the event since Makybe Diva’s three-peat (2003-05).
He will cart 58.5kg with Cox Plate winning hoop James McDonald booked for the ride, which is a weight no Melbourne Cup winner has carried to victory since Think Big won his second in 1975.
Gold Trip was another big winner in the Melbourne Cup barrier draw and will start one inside the favourite from gate two.
He occupies the second line of betting at $4.40 to become the first back-to-back winner with different jockeys.
Mark Zahra won on Gold Trip last spring but has opted to ride rival Without A Fight as he chases back-to-back Melbourne Cup victories this season.
The Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained Without A Fight was 13th as an international with Simon & Ed Crisford in the race 12 months ago.
He comes into this year’s field fit as a more mature galloper with the confidence of his last start Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) victory.
Without A Fight carried 55.5kg to win the Caulfield Cup and goes up a kilo on Tuesday looking to become the 12th horse in history, and the first since Ethereal (2001), to complete the Caufield Cup – Melbourne Cup double.
He will start from barrier 16 and is currently at a quote of $7.50.
Last year’s winning trainers Ciaron Maher & David Eustace have a stranglehold on the Melbourne Cup field this spring numbers-wise with Gold Trip joined in the line-up by four stablemates.
The Bart Cummings winner Future History in on just 50kg, Right You Are, Geelong Cup runner-up Ashrun to be ridden by three-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy, and Bendigo Cup winner Interpretation complete the stable’s contingent.
The other best-represented trainer in this year’s Melbourne Cup field with four final acceptors is Chris Waller who won in 2021 with his star mare Verry Elleegant.
The best of the Waller clan this year is Soulcombe to be ridden from barrier four by the ‘Magic Man’ Joao Moreira, and the son of Frankle’s lead-up run was a Caulfield Cup seventh.
The other Waller-trained runners are triple-figure roughie Magical Lagoon, Sheraz who has had some injury concerns in the lead-up, and one of the dark horses in the field More Felons drawn the extreme outside in barrier 24.
Jamie Kah has picked up the ride on More Felons at 50.5kg and the European import has some support for an upset off his slashing Australian race debut when a half-length fifth in the Geelong Cup on October 25.
Michelle Payne on 100/1 outsider Prince Of Penzance in 2015 is currently the only female Melbourne Cup winning jockey.
Along with Kah the other female riders looking to become the second are Rachel King on Military Mission for Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott and English hoop Hollie Doyle on the aforementioned Future History.
Other notable Melbourne Cup horses in the mix include Kris Lees’ Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup winner Cleveland to be ridden by Michael Dee from out in barrier 23, diminutive but exciting imported French mare Lastotchka who Craig Williams will ride first-up down under also wide in gate 21, and 2019 champion Vow And Declare lining-up in a Melbourne Cup race for the fourth consecutive year from gate 19.
The 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup is scheduled to jump at 3:00pm (AEDT) as Flemington Race 7 on Tuesday.
2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||x2570x4135||GOLD TRIP (FR)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||James McDonald||2||58.5kg||122|
|2||x69x00x059||ALENQUER (FR)||Michael Moroney||Damien Oliver||9||56.5kg||110|
|3||1x20x11x61||WITHOUT A FIGHT (IRE)||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Mark Zahra||16||56.5kg||1.0kg||118|
|4||x110x340x8||BREAKUP (JPN)||Tatsuya Yoshioka||Kohei Matsuyama||18||55kg||114|
|5||11x234211x||VAUBAN (FR)||Willie Mullins||Ryan Moore||3||55kg||114|
|6||1x682x1437||SOULCOMBE (GB)||Chris Waller||Joao Moreira||4||53.5kg||115|
|7||3127x1261x||ABSURDE (FR)||Willie Mullins||Zac Purton||8||53kg||110|
|8||11121×2505||RIGHT YOU ARE||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||John Allen||15||53kg||114|
|9||x22460x022||VOW AND DECLARE||Danny O’Brien||Billy Egan||19||53kg||115|
|11||x22410x762||ASHRUN (FR)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Kerrin McEvoy||11||51.5kg||109|
|12||706x0x0074||DAQIANSWEET JUNIOR (NZ)||Phillip Stokes||Daniel Stackhouse||12||51.5kg||105|
|13||0x11x513x0||OKITA SOUSHI (IRE)||Joseph O’Brien||Dylan Gibbons (a)||20||51.5kg||109|
|14||2x295x0808||SHERAZ (FR)||Chris Waller||Beau Mertens||22||51.5kg||105|
|15||7x1x23x41x||LASTOTCHKA (FR)||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Craig Williams||21||51kg||106|
|16||5x0x06x906||MAGICAL LAGOON (IRE)||Chris Waller||Mark Du Plessis||7||51kg||106|
|17||319×920141||MILITARY MISSION (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Ms Rachel King||5||51kg||0.5kg||107|
|18||20x129x243||SERPENTINE (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Jye McNeil||1||51kg||110|
|19||x8802x0908||VIRTUOUS CIRCLE (NZ)||Liam Howley||Craig Newitt||6||51kg||112|
|20||1265x728x5||MORE FELONS (IRE)||Chris Waller||Ms Jamie Kah||24||50.5kg||106|
|21||154×721213||FUTURE HISTORY (GB)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Hollie Doyle||13||50kg||109|
|22||536Px32591||INTERPRETATION (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Teo Nugent||17||50kg||103|
|23||213x3L7331||KALAPOUR (IRE)||Kris Lees||Zac Lloyd (a)||14||50kg||106|
|24||02813×8080||TRUE MARVEL (FR)||Matthew Smith||Ben Thompson||10||50kg||102|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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