Melbourne Cup Runners & Riders For 2023

When the clock strikes three in the afternoon on the first Tuesday in November, it marks one of the signature moments of the Australian sporting year, as 24 runners and riders line up for the latest edition of the historic Melbourne Cup. First run in 1861, this two-mile flat handicap enjoys a similar profile Down Under as the Grand National does on these shores. Known as “The Race That Stops A Nation”, that tagline isn’t too far wide of the mark, with Melbourne Cup Day being an official public holiday in Melbourne and areas of Victoria. Elsewhere in the nation, sick days skyrocket as millions tune in to Australia’s biggest betting event.

Open to runners aged three years and older, the highlight of the season at Flemington Park offers a whopping A$8 million in total prize money, making it the richest two-mile handicap in the world – and one of the most valuable turf contests over any trip. With such riches on offer, the contest regularly attracts the cream of the crop from the Australian staying division, in addition to a squadron of overseas raiders, including from British and Irish yards.

See Also: Melbourne Cup Stats & Trends

Melbourne Cup 2023: Runners & Riders

  • 1: Gold TripJames McDonald
  • 2: AlenquerDamien Oliver
  • 3: Without A FightMark Zahra
  • 4: BreakupKohei Matsuyama
  • 5: VaubanRyan Moore
  • 6: SoulcombeJoao Moreira
  • 7: AbsurdeZac Purton
  • 8: Right You AreJohn Allen
  • 9: Vow And DeclareBilly Egan
  • 10: ClevelandMichael Dee
  • 11: AshrunKerrin McEvoy
  • 12: Daqiansweet JuniorDaniel Stackhouse
  • 13: Okita SoushiDylan Gibbons
  • 14: SherazBeau Mertens
  • 15: Lastotchka Craig Williams
  • 16: Magical LagoonMark Du Plessis
  • 17: Military MissionRachel King
  • 18: SerpentineJye McNeil
  • 19: Virtuous CircleCraig Newitt
  • 20: More FelonsJamie Kah
  • 21: Future History Hollie Doyle
  • 22: Interpretation Theodore Nugent
  • 23: Kalapour Zac Lloyd
  • 24: True MarvelBen E Thompson

The Jewel in Australian Racings Crown

Flemington Racecourse is comfortably the most prestigious track in Australia and hosts many of the nation’s most famous events, including the Lightning Stakes, the Victoria Derby, the VRC Oaks, the Mackinnon Stakes, and, of course, the race that dwarfs them all, the Melbourne Cup.

Nestled in 1.27 square kilometres on the outskirts of Melbourne, the city skyline and beautiful blue skies provide an impressive backdrop to the action. Boasting a huge 120,000 capacity, Flemington offers all the food and drink facilities you would expect of a modern track, many of which are housed in the imposing AUS$45 million Grandstand, which first opened for business in 2005.

The racetrack runs left-handed and forms a pear shape of around 1m3½f in circumference. Upon passing the winning post, the field faces a notably tight turn into the backstretch before a far longer, more sweeping bend leads them back into the home straight of around two and a quarter furlongs. Almost completely flat throughout, the track is widely recognised as providing a fair test, with both front runners and hold-up performers able to show their best.

A Carnival Atmosphere

Australia’s greatest race acts as the centrepiece of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, which spreads over eight days in Australian springtime and encompasses four prestigious race fixtures. Victoria Cup Day kicks things on the Saturday before the Melbourne Cup, with the headline act on the Tuesday being followed by the Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday and the TAB Champions Stakes Day on the following Saturday.

Carnival is an apt description of the events at Flemington. Many of those in attendance come suited and booted, but others opt for fancy dress, which, in combination with the flowing drinks, helps to ensure a real party atmosphere throughout.

Home Team are Hard to Beat

Renowned as one of the finest sporting nations on the planet and famed for their fierce competitive spirit, the Australians aren’t about to let their biggest prize head overseas without a fight. With 14 wins between 2000 and 2023, the hosts unsurprisingly boast the strongest recent record.

However, in the 21st Century, the race has attracted overseas talent in ever-increasing numbers, with quality performers flocking to Australia from far and wide. New Zealand, Britain, Germany, France and Japan have all provided the winner in recent years. Joseph O’Brien claimed the prize for Ireland in 2017 and 2020, following in the footsteps of fellow Irish trainer Dermot Weld, who was the first Northern Hemisphere-based trainer to saddle the winner, when sending out Vintage Crop in 1993.

Cummings and Makybe Diva Records Unlikely to be Beaten

Widely accepted as the greatest Australian trainer of all time, Bart Cummings compiled an incredible record in this event, with his tally of 12 Melbourne Cup wins putting him way out in front as the most successful trainer in the history of the race. In recent years, wins have been spread far more evenly, with 20 different trainers lifting the trophy between 2000 and 2023.

So competitive is this event that it takes a special horse to come home in front on one occasion. To win it twice is an incredibly difficult task. Difficult, but not impossible, as displayed by dual winners Archer (1861, 1862), Peter Pan (1932, 1934), Rain Lover (1968, 1969), and Think Big (1974, 1975). However, the best record of all belongs to the wonder mare Makybe Diva, who became the darling of the nation when landing three successive editions between 2003 and 2005.