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Ad Current second-favourite Soulcombe is among the first declarations for this year's Lexus Melbourne Cup. (Morgan Hancock/Racing Photos)

First declarations announced for this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup

3 October 2023 Written by VRC

The Lexus Melbourne Cup dream continues for 72 quality horses after first acceptances were taken today for the world’s richest handicap, the $8.4 million Group 1 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m).

Legendary Irish trainer Willie Mullins remains on track to emulate the feat of his fellow countryman Dermot Weld three decades ago with a pair of acceptors, current favourite Vauban and Absurde, who holds a golden ticket into the Lexus Melbourne Cup after his win in the Ebor Handicap at York.

The pair, who arrived in Melbourne on Saturday night, are among five internationals still in the hunt for Australia’s greatest prize. Also still in the race are Japanese galloper Breakup as well as Valiant King and Okita Soushi, both prepared by two-time Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Joseph O’Brien.

Golden ticket holders Goldman, an easy winner of the Listed Roy Higgins Quality (2600m) in March, and Lunar Flare, a breathtaking victor of the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) in May, are at the forefront of a home team that also includes defending champion Gold Trip, 2019 hero Vow And Declare and past placegetters Emissary, High Emocean and Spanish Mission.

Saturday’s Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) winner Just Fine received a 0.5kg weight penalty for his win and is still in the hunt for Cup success for trainers Gai Waterhouse AO and Adrian Bott.

A number of Chris Waller trained horses who remain in the running for the first Tuesday in November galloped at Flemington this morning including second-favourite Soulcombe who will run in this weekend’s Group 1 TAB Turnbull Stakes alongside stable mate Francesco Guardi.

Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Executive General Manager Racing Leigh Jordon said that the closure of first acceptances marked an important milestone on the road to the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

“The quality of first acceptances for the 163rd Lexus Melbourne Cup is high across the board and an increase of 14 horses when compared to this time last year highlights the status of the great race,” Mr Jordon said.

“As they have for 30 years, the best from Ireland, the UK and Japan remain on target to tackle the finest Australian and New Zealand stayers in what amounts to the most exciting three minutes in Australian sport.

“This Saturday sees the final race meeting at Flemington before the Melbourne Cup Carnival with another Lexus Melbourne Cup Golden Ticket on offer in the Lexus Bart Cummings and a host of top-class horses continuing their preparations for Australia’s greatest race week in the TAB Turnbull Stakes.

“We can’t wait to see who will emerge as Lexus Melbourne Cup contenders over the next five weeks and the continued build up to the first Tuesday of November.”

The TAB Turnbull Stakes has been a strong form reference throughout the years and has produced the Lexus Melbourne Cup winner the last two years, with Gold Trip (fifth to Smokin’ Romans) and Verry Elleegant (fourth to Incentivise) while the Group 3 Lexus Bart Cummings (2500m) is set to bring together some of the most promising young stayers in the country hoping to secure a golden ticket into the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

Second declarations for the Lexus Melbourne Cup must be submitted by noon on Tuesday 17 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 Network 10 and 10 Play on demand.

The full list of first acceptances for the Lexus Melbourne Cup can be found here and an updated order of entry here.

 

Key Milestones Dates for 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup

Entry and Acceptance Stages

Date

First Declarations

12:00pm Tuesday 3 October

Second Declarations

12:00pm Tuesday 17 October

Third Declarations

10:00am Monday 30 October

Final/Fourth Declarations

4:30pm Saturday 4 November

 

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