The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The likely 24-horse Melbourne Cup 2023 field is taking shape with Wednesday’s Bendigo Cup winner Interpretation right on the cusp of a start.
The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained six-year-old atoned for his ninth to Future History in the Group 3 The Bart Cummings when squeezed for a run getting more galloping room off a gun Michael Dee ride to post a final stride victory for the punters in this year’s Group 3 Bendigo Cup (2400m).
He has avoided penalty for the victory but has moved up to number 24 on the latest order of entry for the Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 7.
Interpretation failed to finish last year’s race and gets his chance to atone in on 50kg as one of five likely runners for the stable whose major chance at back-to-back wins is with the defending champion Gold Trip.
A Melbourne Cup jockey for Interpretation is yet to be confirmed with the horse currently a $51 shot in pre-field markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Bendigo Cup winning jockey Michael Dee is booked to ride the Kris Lees-trained Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup winner Cleveland on the first Tuesday of November on 52kg which includes a half-kilo penalty.
Gold Trip will carry the 58.5kg top-weight looking to become the first multiple champion since three-time hero Makybe Diva (2003-05).
The stable booked Cox Plate winning jockey James McDonald for the ride with last year’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Mark Zahra opting to partner the Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained Caulfield Cup winner Without A Fight ($7).
McDonald chases his second Melbourne Cup victory in three years after guiding Verry Elleegant to victory in 2021.
The Bendigo Cup results meanwhile have pushed the consistent Allan Sharrock-trained Kiwi raider Ladies Man outside the top 24 on the Melbourne Cup ballot.
Sharrock is now relying on the natural attrition rate to get his horse a start in the ‘race that stops a nation’ with Dean Yendall on standby for the ride.
At time of publish 22 jockeys have secured a Melbourne Cup ride should their horses make the final field.
The latest to pick up a ride in the 163rd edition of the two-mile classic is 26-year-old Beau Mertens on Chris Waller’s $301 rank outsider Magical Lagoon.
Mertens became a Group 1 winning jockey with his career defining victory on Attrition in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) last month.
He was set to ride the four-year-old in Saturday’s $10 million The Golden Eagle (1500m) in Sydney but trainer Mithcell Freedman was forced to scratch the galloper on Thursday morning due to lameness.
Mertens has his second ride in a Melbourne Cup race after riding the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Cismontane to run 13th behind Rekindling back in 2017.
Willie Mullins’ class Irish stayer Vauban is dominant favourite at $3.50 to win the Melbourne Cup with Ryan Moore aboard the star raider.
Likely 2023 Melbourne Cup Field & Jockeys
1 – GOLD TRIP (Ciaron Maher/Dave Eustace) James McDonald 58.5kg
2 – ALENQUER (Mike Moroney) Damien Oliver 56.5kg
3 – WITHOUT A FIGHT (Anthony and Sam Freedman) Mark Zahra 56.5kg
4 – BREAKUP (Taisuya Yoshioka) Kohei Matsuyama 55kg
5 – VAUBAN (Willie Mullins) Ryan Moore 55kg
6 – SOULCOMBE (Chris Waller) Joao Moreira 53.5kg
7 – ABSURDE (Willie Mullins) Zac Purton 53kg
8 – RIGHT YOU ARE (Ciaron Maher/Dave Eustace) John Allen 53kg
9 – VOW AND DECLARE (Danny O’Brien) Billy Egan 53kg
10 – CLEVELAND (Kris Lees) Michael Dee 52kg
11 – ASHRUN (Ciaron Maher/Dave Eustace) Kerrin McEvoy 51.5kg
12 – DAQIANSWEET JUNIOR (Phillip Stokes) Daniel Stackhouse 51.5kg
13 – OKITA SOUSHI (Joseph O’Brien) Dylan Gibbons 51.5kg
14 – SHERAZ (Chris Waller) TBC 51.5kg
15 – LASTOTCHKA (Mick Price/Micheal Kent Jnr) Craig Wiliams 51kg
16 – MAGICAL LAGOON (Chris Waller) Beau Mertens 51kg
17 – MILITARY MISSION (Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott) Rachel King 51kg
18 – SERPENTINE (Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott) Jye McNeil 51kg
19 – VIRTUOUS CIRCLE (Liam Howley) TBC 51kg
20 – FUTURE HISTORY (Ciaron Maher/Dave Eustace) Hollie Doyle 50kg
21 – MORE FELONS (Chris Waller) Jamie Kah 50kg
22 – TRUE MARVEL (Matthews Smith) Ben Thompson 50kg
23 – VALIANT KING (Joseph O’Brien) Zac Lloyd 50kg
24 – INTERPRETATION (Ciaron Maher/Dave Eustace) TBC 50kg
25 – LADIES MAN (Allan Sharrock) Dean Yendall 50kg
26 – ATHABASCAN (John O’Shea) TBC 50kg
27 – UNITED NATIONS (Ciaron Maher/Dave Eustace) TBC 50kg
28 – KALAPOUR (Kris Lees) TBC 50kg
29 – MOSTLY CLOUDY (Trent Busuttin/Natalie Young) TBC 50kg
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