Ad Gold Trip with the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup

Lexus Melbourne Cup picture firms with 132 nominations

5 September 2023 Written by VRC

With just two months until this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup, the Victoria Racing Club is thrilled to announce it has received 132 nominations for the 2023 Group 1 $8.4 million Lexus Melbourne Cup.

A total of 117 local and 15 international horses have been entered for the 163rd running of the Lexus Melbourne Cup. At this same time last year, there were 97 contenders still in the running for the Lexus Melbourne Cup which included 10 internationals.

Hall of Fame trainer and VRC Ambassador Gai Waterhouse AO celebrates a decade since her historic and only win in the Cup with Fiorente and has nominated 9 contenders highlighted by Goldman, who has already secured his spot through the Listed Lexus Roy Higgins (2600m) and Group 1 ATC Australian Derby winner Major Beel.

Fellow Flemington-based Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning trainers Chris Waller and Danny O’Brien feature among the nominations. Highlights for Chris Waller include Penfolds Victoria Derby winner Manzoice and Queensland Derby winner Kovalica.

Reigning Cup-winning trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace have nominated 17 horses including 2022 champion Gold Trip and third place-getter High Emocean.

Nominations from international connections are of strong quality with horses from Japan, Ireland and England signalling their intention to travel to Flemington.

English trainer William Haggas has nominated Desert Hero, bred by the late Queen Elizabeth II and owned by Their Majesties King Charles and Queen Camilla. Queen Elizabeth II previously had a Melbourne Cup runner in 1997 with Arabian Story who finished sixth.

On the 30th anniversary of Irish raider Vintage Crop’s history-making Melbourne Cup win, his trainer Dermot Weld has nominated Harbour Wind, who recently won the Listed Vinnie Roe Stakes, named after three-time Melbourne Cup runner Vinnie Roe, also trained by Weld.

Leading Irish trainer Willie Mullins will have a two-pronged attack for this year’s Cup with long range race favourite Vauban and recent Ebor Handicap winner Absurde among the entries. Absurde is guaranteed a run in this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup thanks to his win in the Ebor Handicap, which offered a golden ticket into the Cup for the first time this year.

Daughter of 2013 Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente, Lunar Flare is the other horse guaranteed a spot in the race that stops a nation after her win in the Listed Lexus Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) for trainer Grahame Begg.

Further opportunities for horses and connections to receive ballot exemption at Flemington include the Group 3 Lexus Bart Cummings (2500m) on TAB Turnbull Stakes Day and the Group 3 Lexus Archer Stakes (2500m) on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day. Outside of Flemington, the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) offer ballot exemption.

VRC Executive General Manager Racing Leigh Jordon said he was thrilled with the nominations for this year’s Cup.

“We are extremely pleased with the list of nominations for this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup,” Mr Jordon said.

“This year we celebrate 30 years since Vintage Crop began the wave of international horses competing in the Lexus Melbourne Cup and it is promising to see the quality of overseas contenders nominated.

“This is complemented by a quality list of locally trained stayers, testament to the enduring allure of the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

"The VRC look forward to welcoming thoroughbreds and their connections from across the globe for what is shaping up to be an exceptional race and Melbourne Cup Carnival.”

The 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival will carry more than $30 million in prizemoney across four days of sensational racing. It begins on Saturday 4 November with Penfolds Victoria Derby Day, followed by Lexus Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 7 November, Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday 9 November, and concludes with TAB Champions Stakes Day on Saturday 11 November. 

The full list of nominations for the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup can be found here.

Key Milestones Dates for 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup

Entry & Acceptance Stages



12:00pm Tuesday 5 September

Late Nomination

12:00pm Tuesday 12 September

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