Melbourne Cup contenders get first look at Flemington

31 October 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

Irish contenders Vauban and Absurde have had a look at Flemington ahead of the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup.

Melbourne Cup favourite Vauban and stablemate Absurde have had a gallop at Flemington in preparation for the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup. 

The Willie Mullins-trained pair were brought from the Werribee International Horse Centre for Breakfast With The Stars on Tuesday morning. 

It was the first time the general public got a look at the pair with Vauban leading out from Absurde. 

David Casey, travelling foreman for Mullins, said in an ideal world Vauban would sit off his stablemate in work, but Absurde is a little more freegoing. 

"I go in front, just to keep a lid on him (Absurde). Ideally, we would like it the other way around, but we're worried he might do a bit too much in front," Casey said. 

Casey said bringing the pair to Flemington ahead of the Melbourne Cup was an important part of the build-up, just as it had been for Max Dynamite who ran second to Prince Of Penzance in the 2015 Cup. 

It was a change of routine for the pair to get away from Werribee where they have been working since their arrival at the start of the month. 

Casey has kept the work up to Vauban after the stayer put on weight quickly after his arrival. 

"It's been a job keeping the weight off him, because he put it on so quickly," Casey said. 

"Max the first year lost a good bit of weight and we had to give him a couple of extra days when he first came out, but this guy, it didn't worry him." 

Vauban did his early racing in France, winning at Listed level before being purchased by the Mullins yard with the Melbourne Cup in mind. 

But first, Vauban went hurdling winning three times in his juvenile year before acquitting himself well against the best hurdlers in England and Ireland before a return to flat racing, winning at Royal Ascot and then Naas. 

"He was very good jumping, but he was bought as, hopefully, a Melbourne Cup contender," Casey said. 

"He had very good flat form before he came across from France and the thinking was when we bought him to go jumping and then go back to the flat and be here." 

Like his stablemate, Absurde was purchased out of France and has only had four starts for Mullins, mixing hurdling and flat racing, but at the same stage capturing Europe's richest handicap staying race, the Ebor Handicap at York. 

At his previous flat run, Absurde finished 7-½ lengths astern of his stablemate Vauban at Royal Ascot. 

"He's in good order and is a good horse in his own right. I know he was a long way behind at Ascot, but it was only his second run for us, and he was a much better horse at York, and he's probably improved again," Casey said. 

"He's definitely on the right track." 

Ryan Moore, who won the 2014 Cup on Protectionist, is booked to ride Vauban while leading Hong Kong rider Zac Purton will be aboard Absurde.