Glen Boss analyses the 2023 Melbourne Cup

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Three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Glen Boss has identified Without A Fight as the only threat to Irish raiders Vauban and Absurde in Tuesday’s 3200m Group 1 race at Flemington.

Boss respects Gold Trip but admits the reigning Melbourne Cup winner “really needs to dig deep” because “this year’s race is better than last year’s”.

* Expert tips for the 2023 Melbourne Cup

“It’s an intriguing race because Vauban, from what I’ve seen and read, we could be fighting for second place,” said Boss, an expert analyst on Channel 10’s Melbourne Cup Carnival broadcast.

“Willie Mullins has had a plan for this horse for 18 months: to come here with a strong resolve to win the Cup… and he thought I was going to do this race with the right horse.

“He’s brought the right jockey, Ryan Moore, probably the right horse, and if that’s the case, we might be witnessing something quite spectacular.”

Absurd and Vauban galloped together at Flemington this week. Photo: Scott Barbour–Racing Photos via Getty Images

The manner in which the Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained Without A Fight won the last start of the Caulfield Cup has only reinforced Boss’s opinion of the former international galloper.

Without A Fight competed in the Melbourne Cup last year for touring English trainers Simon and Ed Crisford, but ended up on an unsuitable wet track and finished 13th.

* 2023 Melbourne Cup sweep generator

“I really believe Without A Fight is doing very, very well… he weighs 56.5kg and was the runner-up after the winter in a Caulfield Cup,” Boss said.

“He was very strong in a strong race where he had nowhere to hide, he was really strong down the line. I can only see him improving after that run, he is definitely the best of our local drivers.”

Soulcombe has impressed Boss but Chris Waller’s stayer needs to get on level terms with the field.

An inside draw, gate three, could be tricky as Soulcombe, who missed the start in the Caulfield Cup by more than four lengths, will be stationary in the machine for longer.

While he recovered to finish seventh, Soulcombe ultimately gave the field too much of a start.

Baas on Tuesday approved the booking of jockey Joao Moreira to get the best out of the horse.

Without A Fight (left yellow) was too good for West Wind Blows and Gold Trip in the Caulfield Cup. Photo: Jay Town-Racing Photos via Getty Images

“Joao keeps his bike pretty warm, warms it up pretty solid as he goes to the barriers and makes sure he’s moving behind the barriers so he doesn’t have time to think about it too much,” Boss said.

“You want to keep him working well so that when he hits the barriers his heart rate goes up a little bit, which you normally don’t want, but you want his heart rate to go up so he’s ready.

“It will be an interesting watch because if he (Soulcombe) misses it by a bit, he can’t win it. He doesn’t have much going for him, he has to be at his best.

“Joao is a master at this. If there is anyone who can make this happen, it is Joao.”

Boss admitted that the best of the rest might still not be enough to topple Vauban.

“I haven’t seen any weakness, he can race at speed, I’ve seen him race at speed,” Boss said.

“He looks like he has really good speed, he worked here (Flemington) last Tuesday and he looked like a startled gazelle coming up the straight, he looked like an Oakleigh Plate sprinter.

“Everyone was amazed, so obviously you know he has that kind of speed, we saw that.

“I don’t know, how are we going to beat him if he does that?”


1. Vauban

2. Absurd

3. Without a fight

4. Soulcombe

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