Melbourne Cup Horses 2023
Each year 24 horses square up in the Melbourne Cup which is now regarded as one of the most prestigious racing events in the world.
See below for the final field of 24 runners in the 2023 Melbourne Cup. There are less international raiders than in previous years The horses range from 4 to 8 in age and there are 17 geldings, five stallions and 2 mares. Two runners have won this race before. Nine runners have won previously over the 3200m distance or longer. There are five trainers that have more than one runner: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace have five, Chris Waller has four, Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott have two runners, Willie Mullins has two and Kris Lees has two.
Four of the field are sired by Galileo (Okita Soushi, Magical Lagoon, Serpentine & Interpretation). Six runners were in last year’s Melbourne Cup (Gold Trip, Without A Fight, Vow And Declare, Cleveland, Serpentine and Interpretation). There is one four-year-old, 4 five-year-olds, 10 six-year-olds, 6 seven-year-olds and 3 eight-year-olds.
Melbourne Cup Runner by Runner
1. Gold Trip (2)
A tough stallion who won the Cup last year and carries 1kg more this year. Came from last for a brilliant 1.75 length win in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes on 7th October, then ran 3rd in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup on 21st October after coming from well back and racing tight, then lost no admirers when dropping back in distance and grinding home for 5th in the Cox Plate where he needed more distance. One of 5 runners for the Maher & Eustace team and gets James McDonald riding. Strong hope.
2. Alenquer (9)
He came to Australia early this year with a big reputation. He won a Group 2 over 2400m at Royal Ascot, the Group 1 Tatts Gold Cup over 2112m in Ireland, and was good enough to run in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris where he finished 9th. He had 2 starts in Australia in the autumn where he ran last in the All Star Mile and last in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes. His last 2 starts showed improvement for 5th in the Group 1 Might And Power behind Alligator Blood and 3.4 lengths 9th in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup. He will be jockey Damien Oliver’s last ride in the Cup so a lot of people will be hoping for a magical ending. Not the worst.
3. Without A Fight (16)
Came here from Ireland and finished 13th in the Cup last year when he was unsuited by the soft track. He transferred to Anthony & Sam Freedman in May and has won 3 of 4 starts for them. His latest win in the Caulfield Cup was quite spectacular. Jockey Mark Zahra has chosen to ride him instead of last year’s winner Gold Trip and he’s normally a good judge. One of the main chances.
4. Breakup (18)
Japanese runner who ran 3rd over 3000m then 4th over 3200m earlier this year. He had his first Australian run in the Caulfield Cup where he finished 5.7 lengths 8th. Damien Land rode him at Caulfield but Japanese jockey Kohei Matsuyama will ride him on Tuesday. Will have benefited from an Australian run. Rough place chance.
5. Vauban (3)
The race favourite in the early markets. One of 2 runners for Irish trainer Willie Mullins who has tried to win this race before (and has come close with Max Dynamite in 2015 and 2017). He’s a northern hemisphere five-year-old but shows as a 6YO in the racebook because of a different start to the racing year. He looks a very smart horse who’s capable over hurdles as well as the flat. Won over 2816m at Royal Ascot by 7.5 lengths carrying 61kg, then won his last start, over 2414m at Naas in August, carrying 61kg. World class jockey England’s Ryan Moore will ride him (he rode him for the 7.5 length win). Tough competitor who should be hard to beat.
6. Soulcombe (4)
British import for Chris Waller who’s talented, but has a bad habit of missing the start. In the Caulfield Cup last start he came out about 6 lengths behind the field and put in a great run to be beaten by 5.5 lengths. He’s won up to 2800m but tackles the 3200m for the first time. Gets international rider ‘magic man’ Joao Moreira. Chance if he can jump with the field.
7. Absurde (8)
Willie Mullins’s second runner who won the Ebor Handicap over 2816m at York to get him an automatic exemption into the field. He carried 60.5kg for that win and drops to 53kg here. He won a 4023m hurdle race in May when first-up from a spell and almost a year after his previous race, so the 10 week break between runs is not an issue. Gets Zac Purton riding and looks a nice each-way chance..
8. Right You Are (15)
He has won 10 of his 26 starts. He finished a solid 5th in the Caulfield Cup after being in the leading group that set a fierce pace. The other early leaders dropped back but he toughed it out to finish 5th. The distance is the query but he can finish in the top 10.
9. Vow And Declare (19)
The 2019 Melbourne Cup winner, this will be his 4th run in the Cup. He finished 2nd to Alligator Blood in the weight-for-age Group 1 Caulfield Stakes when second-up this campaign, then ran 2nd in the Moonee Valley Cup last outing – both were really great runs. All the statistics say he can’t win but he’s in fantastic form and I think he’s got a chance.
10. Cleveland (23)
One of 2 runners for Kris Lees (the other is Kalapour). He’s in great form with 2nd in the ATC St Leger Stakes over 2600m on 14th October, then a win in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup on 27th October. The distance won’t be a problem as he won over 3749m in England in May 2022. Must be considered.
11. Ashrun (11)
This eight-year-old gelding came for the 2020 Melbourne Cup from Germany and won the Archer Stakes on the Saturday then ran 10th in the Cup from barrier 23. He stayed in Australia and transferred to the Maher-Eustace stable but injury kept him off the racetrack for almost 3 years. He resumed this spring and has had three runs with the latest run a close 2nd in the Geelong Cup. He drops 5kg from that run. In the mix.
12. Daqiansweet Junior (12)
Ran 6th in the Cup last year. He’s proven at the distance with a win in the 2022 Adelaide Cup over 3200m and 3rd in the 2022 Sydney Cup over 3200m as well as his 6th in the 2022 Melbourne Cup. He worked home strongly for 2 lengths 4th in the Herbert Power Stakes last outing and will run the distance but others may run it more quickly!
13. Okita Soushi (20)
Irish raider from the Joseph O’Brien stable who is one of 4 runners sired by Galileo (the others are Magical Lagoon, Serpentine and Interpretation). He arrived for the Caulfield Cup where he was slowly away and finished 12th of 18. He’s won over this distance in Ireland and his trainer had won the Cup before. He needs to improve a lot on his Caulfield Cup run, and my money won’t be on him.
14. Sheraz (22)
This Waller stable import is a mud runner with 3 of his 4 wins on soft going and the other on heavy going. The track should be good. His best Australian performance was 2nd in the Sydney Cup but that was on a Heavy 10 track. His latest run was 8th in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup where he was less than 2 lengths from the winner and came from 10th at the 400m. Prefer others.
15. Lastotchka (21)
One of only two mares in the field (the other is Magical Lagoon), this French mare is the most lightly-raced runner this year with only 12 career starts. Last start she won a Group 3 over 3100m at Longchamp in September carrying 56kg and has 5kg less here. It’s very hard to line her form up with anything else, but like many European runners she seems better on soft tracks than good. Respect.
16. Magical Lagoon (7)
Finished 1.1 lengths 6th in the Geelong Cup after being the early leader. Unlikely.
17. Military Mission (5)
One of two runners for Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott (the other is Serpentine). An Irish-bred gelding who’s been in Australia since September 2021. He’s won two of his last three starts with the Newcastle Gold Cup over 2300m on 15th September and the Herbert Power Stakes over 2400m on 14th October. In between he ran 4th in The Metropolitan. Untried at the distance. Place chance.
18. Serpentine (1)
This Galileo gelding won the Group 1 Epsom Derby in England in 2020, which is one of the world’s prestigious races. He came to Australia in 2022 and ran 2nd in the 2002 Archer Stakes before being eased down for 20th in the Cup. At his latest run he was 3rd in The Bart Cummings where he chased solidly, suggesting the distance won’t be a problem. Gets the inside draw and will finish in a better position than last year, but don’t think he’ll be in the first five.
19. Virtuous Circle (6)
This four-year-old stallion is the youngest runner in the race this year. He ran a solid 2nd in the Group 1 Australian Derby over 2400m in March and battled on steadily for 4.6 lengths 8th in the Geelong Cup at his latest start. Looking to others.
20. More Felons (24)
He has won over hurdles in England over distance of up to 3400m, so will get the trip. He arrived in the Chris Waller stable in October and his only Australian start was 0.6 length 5th in the Geelong Cup where it was a blanket finish and he came from well back. He gets the visitors draw of barrier 24, but will appreciate the tiny 50.5kg weight. Capable of getting into the money.
21. Future History (13)
Led all the way to win The Bart Cummings, giving him a ‘golden ticket’ into the Cup. After that he was 3rd in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup. He’s been in the trifecta at his last 3 runs but is untried over the distance. Jockey Hollie Doyle is having her first ride in the Melbourne Cup. Not the worst.
22. Interpretation (17)
Failed to finish in last year’s Cup after being eased down at the 1200m. Got into this race with a narrow win in the Bendigo Cup last Wednesday, so he is on a 6 day back-up. His breeding suggests the distance won’t be a problem, but others look to have better chances.
23. Kalapour (14)
This seven-year-old won his way into the race with an all-the-way win in Saturday’s Archer Stakes and is the only runner backing up from Saturday. At his previous 2 starts he placed in the Metropolitan and St Leger. Untried at the distance but could surprise.
24. True Marvel (10)
He’s had 53 starts – more than any other runner in the race. He can stay all day (he won a 3800m race at Moonee Valley by 16 lengths in 2021) and came 2nd in the 2023 Sydney Cup at $151. Expect him to run an honest race but others will be quicker.
See our Melbourne Cup tips
Previous Melbourne Cup Horses