The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Seventy-two stayers remain in the mix for the Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) with first acceptances taken for the November 7th showdown this week.
The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) took the first round of declarations on Tuesday for this year’s edition of the world’s richest handicap and it is the Willie Mullins-trained Irish raider Vauban on top of the updated Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
It has been 30 years since fellow Irishman Dermot Weld prepared the inaugural international Melbourne Cup champion Vintage Crop (1993), and this year Mullins is in with two hopefuls looking to repeat the feat.
Along with the current $4.80 all-in favourite Vauban, who was last seen winning the Group 3 Ballyroan in early August with a hefty 61kg, Mullins has also paid first acceptance fees for Fastnet Rock gelding Absurde.
The dour stayer has winning form up to 4023m in the UK and put in a terrific Melbourne Cup trial in August winning the Ebor Handicap (2816m) with 60.5kg from barrier 22 of 22.
That York triumph earned Absurde a ballot free ride into the 24-horse Melbourne Cup field.
Vauban and Absurde both arrived in Melbourne over the weekend.
A total of five international Melbourne Cup first acceptances were taken.
The other overseas raiders in the mix are Japan’s Breakup, along with the Joseph O’Brien-trained stablemates Valiant King and Okita.
O’Brien has prepared two previous Melbourne Cup winners with Rekindling (2017) and Twilight Payment (2020).
“The quality of first acceptances for the 163rd Lexus Melbourne Cup is high across the board and an increase of 14 horses when compared to this time last year highlights the status of the great race,” VRC Executive General Manager Racing Leigh Jordon said.
“As they have for 30 years, the best from Ireland, the UK and Japan remain on target to tackle the finest Australian and New Zealand stayers in what amounts to the most exciting three minutes in Australian sport.”
Along with Absurde two other Melbourne Cup first acceptors are also exempt from ballot with Grahame Begg’s eight-year-old mare Lunar Flare and the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Goldman.
The defending Melbourne Cup champion Gold Trip remains in the hunt for back-to-back trophies and has been allocated this year’s 58.5kg top-weight.
Reigning Melbourne Cup winning trainers Ciaron Maher & David Eustace have a total of nine first acceptors.
Danny O’Brien’s 2019 Melbourne Cup hero Vow And Declare also still holds an entry, as do former Melbourne Cup place-getters Emissary, High Emocean and Spanish Mission.
The other standout entry and a big firmer in Melbourne Cup betting is star import Just Fine for Waterhouse & Bott who enjoyed a third straight victory down under in last weekend’s Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) in Sydney.
Just fine was penalised 0.5kg and goes up to 53kg in the Melbourne Cup weights.
Chris Waller won the iconic Flemington showdown back in 2021 with his since retired mare Verry Elleegant and has eight first acceptors in 2023.
Heading the Waller contingent are Soulcombe ($8) and last year’s Moonee Valley Gold Cup winner Francesco Guardi ($10).
Frankel five-year-old Soulcombe was eye-catching running just 1.4 lengths fourth to Alligator Blood in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) on September 23.
He has another Melbourne Cup lead-up run this weekend at Headquarters in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and enjoyed a solid Flemington gallop on Tuesday morning.
The Turnbull Stakes produced last year’s Melbourne Cup winner with Gold Trip finishing fifth, while Verry Elleegant was fourth in the previous year’s Turnbull to Incentivise before turning the tables in the two-mile classic.
“This Saturday sees the final race meeting at Flemington before the Melbourne Cup Carnival with another Lexus Melbourne Cup Golden Ticket on offer in the Lexus Bart Cummings and a host of top-class horses continuing their preparations for Australia’s greatest race week in the TAB Turnbull Stakes,” Mr Jordon said.
“We can’t wait to see who will emerge as Lexus Melbourne Cup contenders over the next five weeks and the continued build up to the first Tuesday of November.”
2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup second acceptances close at midday local time on Tuesday the 17th of October, 2023.
2023 Melbourne Cup First Acceptances
|Last 10||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp Rating|
|1||3127x1261x||ABSURDE (FR)||G||6||Willie Mullins|
|2||60847×7253||ALASKAN GOD||G||5||Daniel Morton|
|3||16x69x00x0||ALENQUER (FR)||G||6||Michael Moroney|
|4||45x83300x9||AMADE (IRE)||G||10||Phillip Stokes|
|5||x5x22410x7||ASHRUN (FR)||G||8||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace|
|6||8537Px9911||ATHABASCAN (FR)||G||5||John O’Shea|
|7||8x27410x89||BANK MAUR||H||4||Richard Laming|
|9||11416×4374||BERKELEY SQUARE||G||4||Dan O’Sullivan|
|10||13×2122131||BRAYDEN STAR (GB)||H||5||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young|
|11||2x110x340x||BREAKUP (JPN)||H||6||Tatsuya Yoshioka|
|12||31115x2x31||CARINI (FR)||G||5||Danny O’Brien|
|13||226x50x496||CLEVELAND (IRE)||H||6||Kris Lees|
|14||0706x0x007||DAQIANSWEET JUNIOR (NZ)||G||6||Phillip Stokes|
|15||415931×173||DENY KNOWLEDGE (IRE)||M||6||Michael Kent|
|16||2x131x8x0x||DUKE DE SESSA (IRE)||H||5||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace|
|17||3x3x907x00||EL BODEGON (IRE)||G||5||Chris Waller|
|18||1x847014x3||EL PATRONESS||M||5||Danny O’Brien|
|19||812x530x95||EMISSARY (GB)||G||7||Michael Moroney|
|20||x641127x89||FAME||G||4||Peter G Moody & Katherine Coleman|
|21||02x858x586||FANCY MAN (IRE)||G||6||Annabel Neasham|
|22||31×2313671||FERAGO||G||7||Patrick F Ryan Jnr|
|23||7111011×21||FIRST IMMORTAL||G||4||Mark & Levi Kavanagh|
|24||23×990121||FOREIGN RAIDER||M||4||John Sadler|
|25||1232821×05||FRANCESCO GUARDI (IRE)||G||6||Chris Waller|
|26||61154×7212||FUTURE HISTORY (GB)||G||6||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace|
|27||291x2570x4||GOLD TRIP (FR)||H||7||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace|
|28||x31x111x96||GOLDMAN (NZ)||G||5||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott|
|29||x13x4321x2||GREGOLIMO (FR)||G||6||Michael Moroney|
|30||x5x8313x00||HASTA LA WAR||G||8||Sue Murphy|
|31||13x5840x7x||HIGH EMOCEAN (NZ)||M||7||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace|
|32||3223180×57||HOO YA MAL (GB)||G||5||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott|
|33||0x6x824193||HOSIER (IRE)||G||7||Mark Minervini|
|34||x6536Px325||INTERPRETATION (IRE)||G||6||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace|
|35||386061×111||JUST FINE (IRE)||G||6||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott|
|36||21213x3L73||KALAPOUR (IRE)||G||7||Kris Lees|
|37||11x1430x00||KING FRANKEL (IRE)||G||6||Annabel Neasham|
|38||39x8663x00||KNIGHTS ORDER (IRE)||G||9||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott|
|39||131413×322||LADIES MAN (NZ)||G||6||Allan Sharrock|
|40||7x1x23x41x||LASTOTCHKA (FR)||M||5||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)|
|41||12x7931x80||LUNAR FLARE||M||8||Grahame Begg|
|42||115x0x06x9||MAGICAL LAGOON (IRE)||M||5||Chris Waller|
|43||11421×0260||MAJOR BEEL (NZ)||G||4||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott|
|44||53331||MEDATSU (NZ)||G||3||Chris Waller|
|45||5319×92014||MILITARY MISSION (IRE)||G||6||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott|
|46||15×0332361||MOSTLY CLOUDY (IRE)||G||5||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young|
|47||3x9x0050x8||MOUNT POPA (IRE)||G||9||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes|
|48||312x18x740||MR WATERVILLE (IRE)||G||5||Chris Waller|
|49||00x11x513x||OKITA SOUSHI (IRE)||H||6||Joseph O’Brien|
|50||47905926×4||PESTO (GB)||G||8||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes|
|51||102x100x24||PROTAGONIST (FR)||G||7||Kris Lees|
|52||67720×0040||RAGING BULL||G||5||Mark Minervini|
|53||322110×803||REBEL RACER||G||7||Amy & Ash Yargi|
|54||1111121×25||RIGHT YOU ARE||G||7||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace|
|55||11265x728x||SCRIPTWRITER (IRE)||G||5||Chris Waller|
|56||020x129x24||SERPENTINE (IRE)||G||7||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott|
|57||4x11x71616||SHAIYHAR (IRE)||G||5||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young|
|58||472x295x08||SHERAZ (FR)||G||7||Chris Waller|
|59||0x1390x704||SIR LUCAN (IRE)||G||6||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott|
|60||177x884x60||SMOKIN’ ROMANS (NZ)||G||7||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace|
|61||1x1x682x14||SOULCOMBE (GB)||G||5||Chris Waller|
|62||34x339x3x7||SPANISH MISSION (USA)||H||8||Peter G Moody & Katherine Coleman|
|63||2764×08087||STAFFORD’S LAD||G||9||Daniel Morton|
|64||281x558x36||THE MAP||M||5||Dan Clarken & Oopy MacGillivray|
|65||2302813×80||TRUE MARVEL (FR)||G||8||Matthew Smith|
|66||151x86x801||UNCLE BRYN (GB)||G||6||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young|
|67||17x41x9523||UNITED NATIONS (IRE)||H||5||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace|
|68||34×21225||VALIANT KING (GB)||H||4||Joseph O’Brien|
|69||11x234211x||VAUBAN (FR)||G||6||Willie Mullins|
|70||32x8802x09||VIRTUOUS CIRCLE (NZ)||H||4||Liam Howley|
|71||01x22460x0||VOW AND DECLARE||G||8||Danny O’Brien|
|72||11x20x11x6||WITHOUT A FIGHT (IRE)||G||7||Anthony & Sam Freedman|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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