Without A Fight wins the 2023 Melbourne Cup

Without A Fight has won the 163rd Melbourne Cup on a hot and windy day at Flemington Racecourse.

Without A Fight has won the 163rd Melbourne Cup on a hot and windy day at Flemington Racecourse. Photo: AAP

Another gut-wrenching decision for Mark Zahra to partner Without A Fight instead of Gold Trip has paid huge dividends with the in-form jockey’s second successive win in the $8 million Melbourne Cup.

Timing his run perfectly, Zahra steered Without A Fight to victory at Flemington ahead of Chris Waller pair Soulcombe, ridden by Joao Moreira, and Beau Mertens on Sheraz.

Zahra crossed the line and pumped his fist with more than a hint of relief, having decided against riding the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Gold Trip after their success in the race that stops a nation last year.

He instead jumped on Anthony and Sam Freedman’s Without A Fight, just as he did for last month’s Caulfield Cup.

Without A Fight became the 12th horse in history to win the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double in the same year.

“The stars aligned for Gold Trip last year and aligned for this horse this year,” Zahra said.

“The way he won the Caulfield Cup, I was confident he would run it out.

“Winning one helps you a lot … you’re so much more confident. If you haven’t won one 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. When you’re on a good horse you can do the same.”

Favourite Vauban was well beaten for Irish trainer Willie Mullins.

“Vauban was a little disappointing alright. He was beaten too far out for my liking,” 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.”


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