The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Thirty-two stayers remain in the mix for Tuesday week’s Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) following third declarations on Monday morning.
The 163rd running of Australia’s most famous race will light-up Flemington Racecourse on November 7 at 3:00pm (AEDT).
With 24 spots in the final field, eight of the third acceptors will miss out on a shot at glory.
The most notable non-acceptor was last year’s third place-getter High Emocean with the mare dropping out of contention.
High Emocean lost favour with the stable and punters alike in regards to a second Melbourne Cup bid after finishing dead last in the Group 3 Geelong Cup last week.
She was one of 11 stayers bowing out of the Melbourne Cup race.
Chris Waller’s former Cox Plate place-getter El Bodegon was another notable non-acceptor.
Trainers Ciaron Maher & David Eustace ran first and third in the 2022 Melbourne Cup trifecta and still have six potential runners in a hunt for back-to-back victories.
The defending champion Gold Trip, a slashing fifth in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley last weekend, heads their contingent and will carry the 58.5kg top-weight.
Jockey Mark Zahra was aboard the star seven-year-old in the Cox Plate but has opted to come off for the Melbourne Cup in favour of a run aboard Caulfield Cup champ Without A Fight for Anthony & Sam Freedman.
Cox Plate winning hoop James McDonald has picked up the ride on Gold Trip with the galloper the $5 second favourite in pre-field markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The other Maher/Eustace Cup hopes are The Bart Cummings winner Future History who is exempt from ballot with 50kg, Right You Are to be ridden by John Allen, Ashrun with three-time Melbourne Cup winning hoop Kerrin McEvoy to ride, United Nations right on the cusp of a start, and Interpretation who is 31st on the latest order of entry.
Vauban is a long-time favourite in Melbourne Cup betting and the Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old is still the one to beat as the $4 top-elect post-third acceptances.
The champion hurdler and flat racing star in Ireland has a brilliant two-mile strike-rate (5:2-2-1) and will debut down under in the Melbourne Cup with Ryan Moore to ride.
Mullins has also paid up for Absurde, to be ridden by Zac Purton, who is exempt from ballot after his Ebor Handicap victory carrying 60.5kg over 2816m at York back in August.
Fellow Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien also has two stayers still in the mix with Valiant King and Okita Soushi.
O’Brien is a dual Melbourne Cup winning trainer already having prepared Rekindling (2017) and Twilight Payment (2020) for their respective wins over the locals.
Japan’s Breakup, eighth in the Caulfield Cup first-up in Australia, is the other international Melbourne Cup horse paid up for on Monday.
“There is quality up and down the list of third acceptances for the Lexus Melbourne Cup,” Victoria Racing Club executive general manager of racing, Leigh Jordon, said.
“At the top are horses like Gold Trip and Without A Fight, who have been headline horses already this spring and there are strong internationals like Vauban and Absurde, who we are yet to see race in Australia.
“The next few days will build momentum as the field is finalised and we are excited to see who will make it to the start for the 163rd Melbourne Cup next Tuesday.”
The Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Archer Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Derby Day this Saturday provides a final Melbourne Cup ballot exemption to the winner.
The 2023 Melbourne Cup final acceptances close at 4:30pm (AEDT) on Saturday afternoon with the official field and barrier draw taking place live on Racing.com soon after the racing action.
2023 Melbourne Cup Third Acceptances
|Last 10||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight||True Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||1x20x11x61||WITHOUT A FIGHT (IRE)||G||7||Anthony & Sam Freedman||1=||56.5kg||1.0kg||3|
|2||3127x1261x||ABSURDE (FR)||G||6||Willie Mullins||1=||53kg||6.5|
|3||154×721213||FUTURE HISTORY (GB)||G||6||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||1=||50kg||9.5|
|4||x2570x4135||GOLD TRIP (FR)||H||7||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||4||58.5kg||1|
|5||x69x00x059||ALENQUER (FR)||G||6||Michael Moroney||5||56.5kg||3|
|6||x110x340x8||BREAKUP (JPN)||H||6||Tatsuya Yoshioka||6||55kg||4.5|
|7||11x234211x||VAUBAN (FR)||G||6||Willie Mullins||7||55kg||4.5|
|8||1x682x1437||SOULCOMBE (GB)||G||5||Chris Waller||8||53.5kg||6|
|9||x22460x022||VOW AND DECLARE||G||8||Danny O’Brien||9||53kg||6.5|
|10||11121×2505||RIGHT YOU ARE||G||7||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||10||53kg||6.5|
|11||5x0x06x906||MAGICAL LAGOON (IRE)||M||5||Chris Waller||11||51kg||7|
|12||x8802x0908||VIRTUOUS CIRCLE (NZ)||H||4||Liam Howley||12||51kg||7|
|13||7x1x23x41x||LASTOTCHKA (FR)||M||5||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||13||51kg||7|
|14||6x50x49621||CLEVELAND (IRE)||H||6||Kris Lees||14||52kg||0.5kg||7.5|
|15||2x295x0808||SHERAZ (FR)||G||7||Chris Waller||15||51.5kg||8|
|16||706x0x0074||DAQIANSWEET JUNIOR (NZ)||G||6||Phillip Stokes||16||51.5kg||8|
|17||34×212256||VALIANT KING (GB)||H||4||Joseph O’Brien||17||50kg||8|
|18||x22410x762||ASHRUN (FR)||G||8||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||18||51.5kg||8|
|19||0x11x513x0||OKITA SOUSHI (IRE)||H||6||Joseph O’Brien||19||51.5kg||8|
|20||319×920141||MILITARY MISSION (IRE)||G||6||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||20||51kg||0.5kg||8.5|
|21||x1430x0039||KING FRANKEL (IRE)||G||6||Annabel Neasham||21||51kg||8.5|
|22||20x129x243||SERPENTINE (IRE)||G||7||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||22||51kg||8.5|
|23||1265x728x5||MORE FELONS (IRE)||G||5||Chris Waller||23||50.5kg||9|
|24||02813×8080||TRUE MARVEL (FR)||G||8||Matthew Smith||24||50kg||9.5|
|25||31413×3221||LADIES MAN (NZ)||G||6||Allan Sharrock||25||50kg||9.5|
|26||37Px991187||ATHABASCAN (FR)||G||5||John O’Shea||26||50kg||9.5|
|27||x41x952320||UNITED NATIONS (IRE)||H||5||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||27||50kg||9.5|
|28||x858x58610||FANCY MAN (IRE)||G||6||Annabel Neasham||28||50kg||9.5|
|29||5x8313x006||HASTA LA WAR||G||8||Sue Murphy||29||50kg||9.5|
|30||1213x3L733||KALAPOUR (IRE)||G||7||Kris Lees||30||50kg||9.5|
|31||6536Px3259||INTERPRETATION (IRE)||G||6||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||31||50kg||9.5|
|32||5×03323614||MOSTLY CLOUDY (IRE)||G||5||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||32||50kg||9.5|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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