Mullins on a Lexus Melbourne Cup mission

26 March 2024 Written by VRC

Champion Irish trainer Willie Mullins has come agonisingly close to winning the Melbourne Cup, with horses running second, third, fourth and sixth in the famed race over the past two decades. Will 2024 be his year?

In the lead up to the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup, talented stayer Vauban was a firm favourite, popular with the public and the experts. Despite this, the gelding finished 14th in the field behind the winner, Without A Fight.

Undeterred, Mullins, who just celebrated his 100th Cheltenham winner in England, is aiming to prepare Vauban for another shot at glory this year. 

A ‘dual-purpose’ horse, Vauban usually takes on both flat and hurdle races, but leading into the Lexus Melbourne Cup the trainer will focus the horse solely on flat races. 

“Yes (he’s likely to have a Flat campaign), I think that’s more or less the plan,” Mullins told Irish Horse Racing.

“He might get a run in Punchestown (Ireland) if he’s ready but I think I’m going to concentrate on getting him back to Melbourne in ship shape and have another crack at the Lexus Melbourne Cup in November.”