Without A Fight wins Melbourne Cup 2023: Flemington Racecourse live action, coverage

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Without A Fight wins Melbourne Cup 2023: Flemington Racecourse live action, coverage

The 2023 Melbourne Cup has been run and won with Mark Zahra steering Without A Fight to a famous victory.

The winning jockey said Without A Fight gave a dream run and credited the entire team for the historic win.

“Unbelievable. If I could’ve thought I’d have that run from (barrier) 16 I’d have said he was unbeatable,” Zahra said.

“To the trainer’s credit, Sam and Lee and all their team, he was just an absolute gentleman today, went to the rails, switched off, I probably got to the front earlier than last year but I’d just had that soft a run.”

A massive number of punters packed Flemington as the temperature reached 30C, with 84,492 fans cheering on Zahra as the weather turned late in the card.

Check here for all the live action from the turf with updates from our team of racing reporters and analysts right through the race card.


R10: Quaddie dreams shattered

Melbourne Cup day punters were stunned when a roughie got up in the last at Flemington, knocking just about everyone out of the quaddie.

As rain started to fall, jockey John Allen gave Victorian trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young a double on the day.

Pascero was sent out $51 but was superbly ridden by Allen after jumping from a wide gate.

With a blowout result in the last leg, the quaddie paid $69,500 on the Victorian tote for those few lucky souls who had it.

In the Melbourne Cup, Allen’s mount Right You Are had failed to finish but was reported to be recovering well from heat stress.


Crowd of 84,492 rocks Flemington

The television broadcaster confirmed a massive crowd of 84,492 packed the lawns, grandstands and bars of Flemington, an increase of almost 15 per cent from 2022.

The weather nudged 31C before stronger winds and overcast conditions took over late in the card.


R9: Skew Wiff takes out ninth

Kiwi jockey Opie Bosson got his eye in ahead of a big Group 1 mission on Saturday with a win late on Melbourne Cup day.

Superstar sprinter Imperatriz will be partnered by Bosson when she goes around as a short-priced favourite in Saturday’s Group 1 Champions Sprint.

Trainer Mark Walker may also have Group 1 aspirations for Skew Wiff who scored the Group 3 Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes at Flemington on Tuesday.

Skew Wiff could target the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on November 18.


Maher: Less than ideal run for Gold Trip

Trainer Ciaron Maher says there were excuses for the poor performance of Melbourne Cup champion Gold Trip in the 2023 race.

Gold Trip started hard in the betting market as the $6.50 second pick behind Vauban.

However the 2022 winner was never a chance and was beaten out of sight, finishing 17th and beaten more than 23 lengths.

Maher, who co-trains with Dave Eustace, said he felt Gold Trip’s new jockey James McDonald had ridden the stayer too close in the Melbourne Cup.

Maher also said Gold Trip had been buffeted by another horse in the run and he did not enjoy the incident.

Jockey Mark Zahra was vindicated in choosing to ride Cup winner Without A Fight over Gold Trip who he won the Cup on last year.


Best shots of winning duo Mark Zahra and Without A Fight


R8: Roll On High wins for Peter Moody

Victorian jockey Billy Egan savoured an impressive win on Melbourne Cup day as double-figure chance Roll On High unleashed a barnstorming finish in the Desirable Stakes.

Egan, who rides with his sleeves rolled up, had finished ninth on former Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare in the 2023 Cup.

But a race later he was Mr Cool as he stayed out of trouble and surged from last with filly Roll On High who started $12.

It gave Peter Moody and training partner Katherine Coleman another win in their first spring carnival as training partners.

— Racing.com (@Racing) November 7, 2023


Update on Right You Are

Right You Are with John Allen in the saddle failed to finish the Melbourne Cup but seems to be OK.


R7: Without A Fight wins 2023 Melbourne Cup

Mark Zahra morphed into Nostradamus when his tricky decision came up trumps and scored a historic Melbourne Cup win.

Zahra rode last year’s Cup winner Gold Trip but chose to jump ship after partnering Without A Fight to win the 2023 Caulfield Cup.

The decision gave Zahra sleepless nights but proved a masterstroke as Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained Without A Fight proved the best stayer in the Melbourne Cup.

Sam Freedman described Without A Fight as a “freak” and said Zahra has produced an “extraordinary” ride from a wide barrier.

Zahra, who was celebrating back-to-back Cups, said he spoke to noted form student Mark Hunter when deciding between Gold Trip and Without A Fight.

Without A Fight held off Soulcombe who bumbled the start again and ran home hard for second, with roughie Sheraz finishing third.

Without A Fight became the 12th horse to complete the storied Caulfield/Melbourne Cup double and the first since Ethereal in 2001.


Money coming for Gold Trip

TAB spokesman Rohan Welsh has given a betting update less than an hour out from the big race.

“Good money now starting to come for Gold Trip but Vauban still holds around the 15% mark despite the drift from $4.20 to $5.50,” Welsh said.

Soulcombe is the other one that has held steady throughout and is still taking consistent money at $10.

“Looking wider, there’s a watch on Right You Are at $23, and Alenquer who is now $31.”


R6: Go you grey thing

Tears flowed freely as former Ukrainian Tetyana Ferdetska scored her biggest win as a trainer in the famous Flemington greys race on Melbourne Cup day.

The Maggstar ($26) was a blowout for punters when winning the Subzero Handicap but it was an emotional win for Cranbourne trainer Ferdetska and her small stable.

“It is amazing, I can’t believe I am even here,” Ferdetska said.

“I have dreamed about Flemington all my life.”

The Maggstar, ridden by Daniel Stackhouse, wore colours with a Ukrainian trident prominent.

Glint of Silver (second) and Platinum Wolf (third) were brave in defeat.


R5: Jamie Kah on the winners list

Jamie Kah said she felt like she had just won the Melbourne Cup after scoring an emotional win on the big day.

Kah rode The Map to victory in R5 and it meant a lot to her because it was for South Australian trainers Dan Clarken and Oopy McGillivray.

Kah used to live with McGillivray.

“This honestly just feels like I have just won the Melbourne Cup,” Kah told Channel 10.

It was a real confidence booster for Kah, continuing her surge back towards top form.

The superstar jockey had been struggling for winners until recently when scoring a riding double on Group 1 Victoria Derby day last Saturday.

“Never doubt Jamie Kah, she is just a winner,” McGillivray said.

Kah and The Map ($7) surged past favourite Mr Waterville and Joao Moreira in the final stages of the 2800m staying test.

Kah will ride ($34) in the Melbourne Cup as she looks to become just the second female rider to win the Cup after Michelle Payne’s historic win aboard Prince Of Penzance in 2015.


Protestors pepper sprayed and traffic reopens

The roundabout at Racecourse and Epsom roads has reopened to traffic in both directions as at least 50 police officers moved the group to the footpath.

An eyewitness confirmed the protestors had parked a van daubed with pro-Palestine slogans on the roundabout about 11am before slashing its tires so it couldn’t be moved.

Police were eventually able to load the van onto a tow truck shortly before 1pm.

Officers arrested at least three “non-compliant” protestors and at least two protestors were pepper sprayed by police during the disruption.

“A female protestor arrived in a white van and climbed onto the roof where for some time, she failed to obey police instructions to come down,” a Victoria Police spokesperson said.

“In the course of managing the non-compliant protestors, police sprayed two of them before they were successfully arrested.”


R4: Damien Oliver on the board

The GOAT – Damien Oliver – has scored an emotional farewell win on his final Melbourne Cup day.

Australia’s greatest jockey of all-time partnered Adelaide galloper Wiggum to a surprise win in the Schweppervescence Plate.

Wiggum, trained by Travis Doudle, started $9.50 and got under the guard of many punters who plunged favourite Barber ($2), who ran second.

The day has started well for the retiring Oliver with his Melbourne Cup runner Alenquer passing a last minute vet check and cleared to take his spot in the field after suffering a stone bruise.

“It’s good the horse is fit enough to get there for us and let’s hope he can run a good race for us,” Oliver said.

Oliver will have a final chance to equal the record of four Melbourne Cup wins by a jockey, a record currently shared by Bobbie Lewis and Harry White.

Oliver has won Melbourne Cups on Doriemus (1995), Media Puzzle (2002) and Fiorente (2013).

In August, News Corp exclusively revealed that Oliver was retiring and would hang up the saddle in December after one final Victorian spring carnival.


‘Out of your mind’: Protesters disrupt traffic

Pro-Palestine protesters are continuing to block the roundabout between Racecourse and Epsom roads in Flemington.

Chanting “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “out, out, Israel out”, some protesters held banners calling for a ceasefire while others staged a silent sit-in on the roundabout.

A heavy police presence is in place and traffic is being diverted.

No entrances to the Cup carnival are currently being blocked but there are delays for anyone hoping to reach the members’ entrance coming by car from a city direction.

One angry racegoer was heard shouting “you’re out of your mind” as he tried to get through the roundabout.


Late plunge on Absurde

International raider Absurde continues to be the big market mover ahead of the $8.4 million Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington at 3pm.

With less than three hours until the starter lets the 23 runners go on the journey, the favoured runners have eased while Zac Purton’s mount continues to shorten.

Absurde firmed from $21 to $12 from Sunday to Monday and in the past 24 hours has trimmed further, now into $10 with TAB.com.au.

Absurde’s Willie Mullins-trained stablemate Vauban remains a solid favourite but he’s eased from $4.20 to $4.40 while last year’s winner Gold Trip has drifted from $6.50 out to $8 and in the past hour, back into $7.50 and Caulfield Cup winner Without A Fight is easy, $6 out to $8.

Soulcombe is also on the way out from $11 to $12.

There’s support for a fairytale finish to Damien Oliver’s Melbourne Cup career with the two-time winning rider’s final mount, Alenquer in from $41 to $34 while the Gai Waterhouse factor continues to be popular with Cup punters.

Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s runner, Military Mission has firmed in from $23 to $19 since Monday.

Other firmers are Right You Are ($61 – $31), Ashrun ($41 – $26), Daqiansweet Junior ($81 – $71), Sheraz ($151 – $101), Magical Lagoon ($151 – $101), Serpentine ($41 – $34), Virtuous Circle ($151 – $81), Felons ($31 – $26), Interpretation ($126 – $81) and True Marvel ($101 – $81).


Dettori hints at Melbourne Cup return

Globetrotting superstar jockey Frankie Dettori has given an indication he could be back next year to continue his endless Melbourne Cup quest.

Dettori has had more retirement swansongs than John Farnham in recent times and had been meant to ride on 2023 Melbourne Cup day.

But Dettori was suspended for 16 days for breaching whip rules in England, ruling him out of the Melbourne Cup.

However Dettori told Channel Ten on Tuesday he would “100 percent’’ try to return next year to ride in a farewell Melbourne Cup.

Dettori has ridden in the Melbourne Cup 17 times without success, finishing runner-up on three occasions.


Warmonger claims R3 by a whisker

Warmonger ($5.80) edged in front of a brave Queen of Dragons to take out the 1800m R3.

Damian Lane rode Warmonger for trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr and had to work for the victory in a driving finish to the TAB Trophy.

“It was all a little bit out of sorts for him... but we got there in the end,” Lane said post-race.

It could be the first act in a big day for the training team who have French import Lastotchka in the Melbourne Cup having her first Aussie run.

“She is beautiful, everything has gone to plan,” Kent Jr said, of Lastotchka who is a $23 Cup chance.

“We have got the best jockey I feel who can ride at 51kg – Craig Williams.”


Future History to move forward in Cup

Connections of Melbourne Cup runner Future History have advised stewards the gelding will be ridden more forward in the great race.

The Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace-trained Cup runner settled seventh when last seen in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup, running on into third behind Cleveland.

English jockey Hollie Doyle will ride Future History from barrier 13, a $21 Melbourne Cup chance on TAB, more forward in the Cup.

Doyle will be aiming to become just the second female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup after Michelle Payne’s famous win on Prince Of Penzance in 2015.

Under the rules of racing, connections are obliged to advise stewards of changes of tactics before races.


Protest on Epsom Rd

A group of protesters are causing traffic delays on Epsom Rd in Flemington.

Police are on the scene and route 57 trams are being diverted via Mt Alexander Rd.

Punters are being advised to use Metro Trains instead.


Forgot You holds off Warning in R2

Star Victorian jockey Blake Shinn doesn’t have a ride in the Melbourne Cup, but picked up an early prize on the big day.

The premiership-winning jockey has been in superb form and was at it again when he rode Forgot You to score the Furphy Plate.

Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained Forgot You had been off the scene for a long time with a tendon injury at one stage and so it was an emotional win on Cup day.

Forgot You, part-owned by Ozzie Kheir, wears the same colours as Soulcombe and Interpretation will wear in the Melbourne Cup later in the day.


Zac Purton off to dream start in R1

Hong Kong superstar jockey Zac Purton got a nerve settler before his Melbourne Cup ride as he scored victory in the first race on the Flemington card.

Purton will ride the well-backed Willie Mullins-trained Melbourne Cup contender Absurde later today and he chalked up an early win aboard Tony and Calvin McEvoy-trained two-year-old colt Dublin Down.

Dublin Down ($11) wasn’t one of the fancied runners in the Maribyrnong Plate but charged late and held off McEvoy-trained stablemate Blue Stratum ($3.90).

It gave big-race jockey Purton an extra spring in his step as the ex-Aussie chases his first Melbourne Cup later today.


Gates open at Flemington

The gates have opened at Flemington, with punters running and jostling to secure coveted spots trackside spots ahead of the race that stops the nation.


Vauban backed well

Melbourne Cup favourite Vauban has been well backed on Cup morning.

On TAB fixed odds, the Irish raider has shortened from $4.60 to $4.20 on Tuesday morning, making him a clear-cut favourite.

On Monday, Vauban was backed to win more than $3m at the Call Of The Card at Crown Casino.

He will be ridden by superstar jockey, Ryan Moore, who won the 2014 Cup on Protectionist.

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Military Mission has also been well supported, firming from $41 to $19.

Waterhouse is trying to win her second Melbourne Cup after claiming the trophy with Fiorente a decade ago in 2013.

Vauban’s stablemate, Absurde, has also been heavily backed since Saturday night’s barrier draw, firming from $21 to $10.

Without A Fight is solid at $7.50 as second favourite while last year’s winner Gold Trip has eased from $4.40 to $8.


Gold Trip ‘looks fantastic’

Co-trainer David Eustace is extremely confident Gold Trip can go back-to-back in today’s Melbourne Cup.

The Maher-Eustace camp has five runners in the Cup.

Speaking on RSN, Eustace said he “couldn’t be happier” with Gold Trip.

“He looks fantastic, he’s fit and sound and he’s come through the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate in great order,” he said.

“He goes into the Cup in great order.”

Eustace conceded there was a question mark on Future History running a strong 3200m, however, he gives the horse a big chance.

“He has loads of scope and he fills us with plenty of confidence he’ll run a great race,” he said.

Eustace said $31 chance Ashrun was a “solid top six chance”.

“He’ll stay and he’s come through his Geelong Cup really well,” he said.

On Right You Are, Eustace said “we think he’ll stay”.

“He hit the front too soon in the Caulfield Cup and he was brave to the line,” he said.

“He’s a genuine top 10 chance.”

Eustace said he could see $81 chance Interpretation running well.

Trainer Sam Freedman has no concerns about Caulfield Cup winner Without A Fight running out 3200m.

“The significant thing is he needs to settle,” Freedman said on RSN.

“Mark (Zahra) will ride the horse where he’s settled and relaxed. There should be nice speed.

“In the Caulfield Cup, he was finishing stronger than anything else.

“He came through the Caulfield Cup in super order, he’s feeling fresh and well and showing us all the right signs.”


Damien Oliver’s ride passed fit

Legendary jockey Damien Oliver will ride in today’s Melbourne Cup – his final fling in the race that stops a nation – after Alenquer was this morning passed fit by vets to contest the $8m race at Flemington.

Alenquer, who had sustained a stone bruise in trackwork, satisfied a panel of Racing Victoria vets prior to 7.30am scratching time today that he was fit to race.

Now it’s over to three-time Cup winner Oliver to complete the fairytale – but it will take every bit of the champion hoop’s ability aboard the Mike Moroney-trained stayer, who’s a $71 chance after five unplaced Australian runs since he was brought over from England.