51 horses racing toward this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup

17 October 2023 Written by VRC

51 horses remain in the hunt for 24 prized spots in this year’s $8.4 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) after second acceptances were taken today for the ‘race that stops a nation’™.

Defending champion Gold Trip remains on track to become just the sixth horse in the race’s 163-year history to win multiple cups following his breath-taking victory in the TAB Turnbull Stakes at Flemington earlier this month.

He is one of two Lexus Melbourne Cup winners still in contention alongside Vow And Declare (2019) for Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien.

On the 30th anniversary of Vintage Crop’s historic success for Ireland as the first international horse to win Australia’s greatest race, five internationals including four Irish stayers remain in the running hoping to emulate his impressive win in 1993.  These include current favourite Vauban and Ebor Handicap winner Absurde for trainer Willie Mullins. Fellow Irishman Joseph O’Brien will be represented by Valiant King and Okita Soushi as he aims to win his third Lexus Melbourne Cup.

Japan is also represented in second acceptances for the first time in four years with high-class stayer Breakup on target for trainer Tatsuya Yoshioka.

In addition to Absurde, golden ticket winners Goldman (Lexus Roy Higgins Quality), Lunar Flare (Lexus Andrew Ramsden Stakes) and Future History (Lexus Bart Cummings) are set to take their spots in the Lexus Melbourne Cup, with one further golden ticket up for grabs at Flemington in the Lexus Archer Stakes on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day and two more via the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate.

Elite English jockey Hollie Doyle has secured the ride aboard Future History for reigning Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace. The 27-year-old will make history when she lines up in the race that stops a nation, becoming the first ever international female jockey to ride in the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

Maher and Eustace dominate the entries with 7 acceptors with Gold Trip and Future History spearheading a team that includes last year’s third place-getter High Emocean, Mornington Cup winner Right You Are, 2021 Lexus Archer Stakes victor Ashrun, Interpretation and United Nations.

A decade on from her maiden Cup triumph, Hall of Fame trainer and Victoria Racing Club (VRC) ambassador Gai Waterhouse AO and her training partner Adrian Bott have 5 second acceptors. Goldman is joined by Sydney Cup winner Knights Order, Serpentine, Hoo Ya Mal and Military Mission, who added Saturday’s Herbert Power Stakes to his success in the Newcastle Cup.

Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Chris Waller has made his wish clear to win another Cup who also has 7 horses among the acceptances including Soulcombe and international import Scriptwriter.

VRC Executive General Manager Racing Leigh Jordon said that the announcement of second declarations marked an important milestone along the road to the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

“Today’s second acceptances for the 163rd Lexus Melbourne Cup marks another significant milestone on the journey to this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup. 51 quality acceptors remain in the running which is an increase when compared to the number of declarations at the same time last year,” Mr Jordon said.

“This year’s race is shaping up as a classic contest between four of the world’s premier racing jurisdictions in Australia, Ireland, Japan and New Zealand.

“Local hopes Gold Trip and Future History emerged as two strong candidates on TAB Turnbull Stakes Day, and form part of the 46 strong Australian and New Zealand trained contingent still in contention.

“International representation is also solid with 5 overseas horses still in the mix, with some of them set to line up in this weekend's Caulfield Cup providing an even clearer picture of this year’s race that stops a nation.”

Third declarations for the Lexus Melbourne Cup must be submitted by noon on Monday 30 October.

The Lexus Melbourne Cup will be run on Tuesday 7 November as part of Australia’s greatest race week, the iconic Melbourne Cup Carnival. It begins with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 4 November and also features Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 9 November and TAB Champions Stakes Day on Saturday 11 November.

All the action from the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival can be seen live and free on 10 and 10 Play.

The full list of second acceptances for the Lexus Melbourne Cup can be found here.