The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Cox Plate winning hoop James McDonald has been booked by Ciaron Maher & David Eustace to partner their reigning champion Gold Trip in the Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) on Tuesday November 7.
McDonald is one of a host of riders to confirm their rides for the 2023 Melbourne Cup this weekend along with the G.O.A.T. Damien Oliver who will partner the Michael Moroney-trained Alenquer and Gold Trip’s Cox Plate hoop Mark Zahra now on Without A Fight.
J Mac was outstanding extending himself right on the line aboard Hong Kong raider Romantic Warrior to take out Saturday’s Group 1 $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) in a thriller.
That performance has seen the Maher/Eustace stable snap up his services on the 58.5kg Melbourne Cup top-weight and defending champ Gold Trip in Australia’s most famous race.
McDonald is after his second Melbourne Cup win in three years following his 2021 success aboard the Chris Waller-trained mare Verry Elleegant who he rode to an impressive upset with 57kg.
Zahra meanwhile will look to be the first back-to-back Melbourne Cup winning jockey since the three-peat of Glen Boss on triple champion Makybe Diva (2003-05) when he rides the Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained Without A Fight.
Zahra was on Gold Trip for his fifth in the Cox Plate results, but the horse’s performance saw him opt to come off for the big one in favour of partnering Without A Fight.
Zahra enjoyed a blinding Cox Plate Day overall partnering four winners across the card.
There had been plenty of debate around which horse Zahra would ride in the Melbourne Cup field.
He was on Teofilo seven-year-old Without A Fight for the import’s narrow Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) success on October 21.
Eleven horses throughout history have claimed the coveted Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup double with class mare Ethereal the latest in 2001.
The latest Melbourne Cup 2023 odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au have Without A Fight at $7 to be the next.
Gold Trip occupies the second line of all-in Melbourne Cup betting at $5 following his Cox Plate performance trailing only Willie Mullins’ Irish raider Vauban ($4.20).
Right down the markets at $101 meanwhile is the Alenquer who Oliver will ride with the hoop hoping for a fairy-tale as he bids farewell to racing at the end of the spring.
Oliver was booked by owner Rupert Legh on Saturday evening to partner Alenquer who ran ninth in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup on Friday night.
The master hoop chases a fourth Melbourne Cup success following earlier victories on Doriemus (1995), Media Puzzle (2002) and Fiorente (2013).
The 2023 Melbourne Cup third acceptances close at 10:00am (AEDT) on Monday, October 30.
CONFIRMED 2023 MELBOURNE CUP RIDES
- James McDonald to ride Gold Trip for Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
- Mark Zahra to ride Without A Fight for Anthony & Sam Freedman
- Damien Oliver to ride Alenquer for Michael Moroney
- Kohei Matsuyama to ride Breakup for Tatsuya Yoshioka
- Ryan Moore to ride Vauban for Willie Mullins
- Jordan Childs to ride Knights Order for Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
- Joao Moreira to ride Soulcombe for Chris Waller
- Zac Purton to ride Absurde for Willie Mullins
- John Allen to ride Right You Are for Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
- Kerrin McEvoy to ride Ashrun for Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
- Michael Dee to ride Cleveland for Kris Lees
- Dylan Gibbons to ride Okita Soushi for Joseph O’Brien
- Craig Williams to ride Lastotchka for Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr
- Hollie Doyle to ride Future History for Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
- Jye McNeil to ride Serpentine for Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott
- Dean Yendall to ride Ladies Man (pending start) for Allan Sharrock
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