TWO GOOD! Zahra wins back-to-back Melbourne Cups, and 22-year first, after ditching Gold Trip for Without a Fight

Without a Fight completed the rare Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double on Tuesday as star jockey Mark Zahra went back-to-back in the big one after jumping off last year’s winner Gold Trip.

Without a Fight, which paid $9.10 the win and $3.30 the place, came from England for the Cup last year but finished 13th from a wide gate. He claimed two wins in Brisbane over winter before the Caulfield Cup victory. He became the first winner of the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double since Ethereal in 2001.

Soulcombe ($3.40) was second, Sheraz ($17.40) third and Ashrun fourth. Teh quinella paid $35.40, the tridfecta paid $9441.30 and the first four paid $239,496.70.

Irish favourite Vauban was a disappointing 14th, finishing 13 lengths behind the winner – ahead of Gold Trip which was 17th. last placed was Right You Are which failed to finish.

“Vauban was a little disappointing alright. He was beaten too far out for my liking,” the favourite’s Irish trainer Willie Mullins said.

“When I saw him at six furlongs out with Ryan (Moore) having to give him a little niggle I thought that’s too far out for him to be niggling him.

“He just flattened out and ran very disappointing … but that’s the nature of this game.”

It’s a win for the ages as WITHOUT A FIGHT takes out the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup!

???? @10SportAU | #MelbourneCup

— Victoria Racing Club (@FlemingtonVRC) November 7, 2023

Zahra rode both Without a Fight in the Caulfield Cup and and Gold Trip in the Cox Plate this campaign before making his choice and he got a perfect ride for the win.

“Winning one helps you a lot,” said Zahra. “You’re so much more confident. If you haven’t won one you think you might never get the chance. When you win one you think if you stuff it up you still have one to go home to.”

He took Without a Fight to the fence early and stayed there until ready to unleash his fast fnishing horse down the final stretches, coming out to the centre of the track.

“It’s a long way 3,200. Some people want to sit one off but I jumped to the fence as soon as I could. He’s a horse that relaxes better on the fence. Everytime I ride him I think if he can get to the fence he switches off,” said Zahra.

“You see them dropping off, I had a look out. I’m afforded the luxury with this horse that’s got a turn of foot so I don’t have to go with everyone else. When I came off the back, I was thinking there’s nothing coming from behind me.”

Full finishing order

1st: 3. Without A Fight. $9.10, $3.30

2nd: 6. Soulcombe. $3.40

3rd: 14. Sheraz. $17.40

4th: 11. Ashrun
5th: 12. Daqiansweet Junior
6th: 22. Interpretation
7th: 7. Absurde
8th: 24. True Marvel
9th: 9. Vow And Declare
10th: 17. Military Mission
11th: 13. Okita Soushi
12th: 20. More Felons
13th: 15. Lastotchka
14th: 5. Vauban
15th: 21. Future History
16th: 4. Breakup
17th: 1. Gold Trip
18th: 19. Virtuous Circle
19th: 18. Serpentine
20th: 23. Kalapour
21th: 2. Alenquer
22th: 16. Magical Lagoon
23rd: 8. Right You Are (failed to finish)

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