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March Contender Report for the 2023 Melbourne Cup

March Contender Report for the 2023 Melbourne Cup
Flemington Racing Club Jockeys and people take part during 3rd day of Melbourne Cup Carnival 2022. Photo: IMAGO

With autumn carnivals in full swing and lots of good racing to come, even this far out the 2023 Melbourne Cup contenders will begin to switch positions in the market.

Duais is now back in training, though we are looking at those more favoured at this point. We check on last year’s favourite Deauville, current market leader White Marlin and a few more besides.

Andrew Ramsden for White Marlin

Formerly trained by double Cup winner Joseph O’Brien, White Marlin is the talking horse for this year’s race.

After two wins at Dundalk, he made a successful start to life in Australia. Handicap wins at Rosehill and Caulfield were followed by another success on Melbourne Cup Day in the Macca’s Run.

He was sixth in a Warwick Farm Open Trial on March 2. All is well and now current trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott are making the Cup his main priority for the year. He is due to head to the Andrew Ramsden next on May 13. That race offers ballot exemption for the Melbourne Cup to the winner.

English Runners May Clash

White Marlin is a 13.00 chance now in the Melbourne Cup betting, ahead of several at 21.00 including last year’s favourite Deauville Legend.

The English-trained runner finished an excellent season in 2022 with a five-length fourth in the Cup at Flemington. Another run at the Cup is expected this year, though if he gets there in one piece his weight may be a problem.

James Ferguson is focused on targeting the big staying Group 1’s in Europe with his charge. It’ll be interesting to see how he gets on.

Joining him may well be current 34.00 shot Trawlerman. John & Thady Gosden’s Godolphin runner was a smart winner of the Ebor last season at York. He was then placed at Group 2 level in October and will now be aimed at the same races as Deauville Legend, likely to include the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Soulcombe and Hoo Ya Mal to Come Back Stronger.

Ex-English runners such as Emissary will not doubt feature highly once again. Two others we’ll be keeping a watchful eye on are Soulcombe and Hoo Ya Mal.

Soulcombe (Chris Waller) was challenging for favouritism a couple of weeks ago. Last November Craig Williams rode him to a big win. He took the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington and he should still be strongly considered.

After finishing eighth in the Randwick City Stakes his stock has dropped. He was slow into stride that day however and will be much better next time.

Lastly, the surprise Derby runner-up in England, Hoo Ya Mal, wasn’t truly ready for his Cup exploits last year. He’s been to two trials in February and March and is getting there all the time.

Read more news about the Melbourne Cup.

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Gary Christie
105 articles
For more than 20 years, Gary has been immersed in the worlds of sports writing and betting. As well as writing on the subjects of sports and horse racing, Gary has spent years privately handicapping horse races around the world in order to bet professionally. While having appeared on TV and spoken publicly at racecourses, Gary has a passion for writing. He produces articles every day for various territories including North America, UK, Europe and Australia.
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