Golden opportunity awaits in Lexus Melbourne Cup qualifier

24 March 2023 Written by Racing Victoria

The journey to the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup starts at Flemington on TAB Australian Cup Race Day, when the Lexus Roy Higgins offers the first of six golden tickets to contest ‘the race that stops a nation’.

Named in honour of one of the sport’s greatest jockeys, whose list of achievements included two victories in Australia’s most famous race, the $500,000 Listed Lexus Roy Higgins has attracted 10 stayers whose connections will be dreaming of returning to Flemington on the first Tuesday in November 2023.

The Lexus Roy Higgins field is headlined by Chris Waller’s talented import Soulcombe, who currently shares Melbourne Cup favouritism thanks chiefly to the impression he made on his Australian debut winning the Group 3 Queen’s Cup (2600m) at Flemington last spring.

Soulcombe’s owners, who include Richmond premiership players Jack Riewoldt, Tom Lynch, Nathan Broad, Liam Baker, Jack Graham and Jayden Short, will be hoping his master trainer has the horse in peak condition for the premier staying race of Victoria’s Festival of Racing.

The form horses heading into the race are undoubtedly So Unusual (Tony and Calvin McEvoy), who has won four on the bounce including a last-start Flemington victory; and former New Zealand galloper Goldman (Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott), who has been dominant in two Australian runs at Kembla Grange and Warwick Farm. 

Symon Wilde’s Group 3 Launceston Cup winner (2400m) Aurora’s Symphony is also in a rich vein of recent form, whilst 2022 Lexus Melbourne Cup runner Young Werther (Danny O’Brien) and 2019 placegetter Il Paradiso (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace) will all be aiming to secure their second starts in the $8 million showpiece.       

The Lexus Roy Higgins winner will be automatically exempt from the ballot for the Melbourne Cup, with five more chances to secure automatic qualification coming later this year, starting with the $500,000 Lexus Andrew Ramsden (2800m) at Flemington on Saturday, 13 May. 

The Lexus Roy Higgins is set to jump at 3pm (AEDT) and will be followed by the Sunlight Classic (1100m) at 3.40pm, the new look Listed race for three-year-old sprinters which has been named in honour of Team McEvoy’s mighty mare Sunlight.      


Group Racing, a Golden Ticket, and Fareground fun makes the TAB Australian Cup Race Day a pivotal day on the racing calendar and a fitting finale to the Flemington Racing Spectacular. Don't miss out on your tickets.