The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The 146th edition of the Group 1 $5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) will go down in the history books with a sensational two horse battle to the line that saw the now Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained Without A Fight narrowly deny UK raider, his former stablemate West Wind Blows, victory in one of Australia’s greatest races.
Jockey Mark Zahra celebrated his second Caulfield Cup victory with his decision to come off the 58.5kg top-weight Gold Trip, a last start winner of the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) who would run third in the 2023 Caulfield Cup results, and stick with Teofilo seven-year-old Without A Fight for Team Freedman paying off.
“It’s good when you know the results at the end, but you’ve got to choose them before unfortunately,” Zahra told Racing.com post-victory.
“What a moment, so happy.”
Zahra was successful aboard Chris Waller’s outstanding mare Verry Elleegant back in 2020 and added a second Caulfield Cup trophy to the cabinet today.
The Freedmans were under pressure after giving the import just the one lead-up run into the Caulfield Cup with Without A Fight coming off a slashing first-up sixth to Alligator Blood in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) on September 23.
The galloper came to Australia last spring when still with Simon & Ed Crisford, who prepared today’s brave Caulfield Cup runner-up, with his debut down under seeing him run 13th in the Melbourne Cup to Gold Trip.
He burst onto the scene in the winter after transferring to the Freedmans however winning back-to-back Eagle Farm races in Brisbane including the Group 2 $1.2 million The Q22 (2200m).
His Underwood lead-up put the writing on the wall for a big run when getting out over further, and he was sensational over the mile and a half second-up.
“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 had the eventual Caulfield Cup winner settled in the second half of the field as Spirit Ridge led them around setting a solid pace.
As they turned for home Without A Fight ($8.50) was the widest of the runners, but coming strongly.
After missing the kick by three lengths from an inside draw the $5.50 favourite West Wind Blows, who had Jamie Spencer come over from the UK to ride, recovered to settle on the fence midfield.
He got to the front 200m out from the line, but Without A Fight was quick on the scene and the two horses in the yellow silks battled it out over the final furlong in a thriller.
In the end it was the “local” who prevailed having been kept fresh, given a lovely ride by Zahra to finish a long head in front.
“I had a beautiful run and he did the rest,” Zahra said.
West Wind Blows and Spender did a remarkable job to be defeated by such a close margin, while last year’s runner-up Gold Trip ($6.50) was also outstanding completing the Caulfield Cup trifecta with the 58.5kg top weight and Ben Melham aboard this year.
The Annabel Neasham-trained grey Bois D’argent rounded out the first four in a career best performance from the seven-year-old who went around at Caulfield Cup odds of $101.
Without A Fight is now into $6 occupying the third line of all-in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au to head to Flemington on Tuesday November 7 and take out the Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The mare Ethereal (2001) was the last stayer to complete the Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup double.
2023 Caulfield Cup Results & Finishing Order
|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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