Lexus Melbourne Cup: Gold Trip hits top weight at Flemington for Mark Zahra | Race News

Mark Zahra produced Gold Trip with a perfectly timed challenge to lift the Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

Trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, Gold Trip was the top weight in the two-mile contest with James Ferguson’s British raider Deauville Legend widely expected to play a major role in group one.

Kerrin McEvoy installed Deauville Legend in the pack from the early stages, with fellow Brit Without A Fight struggling to get out of a wide draw as Smokin’ Romans quickly took the lead.

It was 2020 Derby hero Serpentine, now coached by Robert Hickmott, who took control after a few furlongs, lobbing sweetly as he chased an early Australian success.

He retired as Knights Order raced home well before the turn, with Deauville Legend seemingly perfectly placed at the top of the straight.

Kerrin McEvoy headed home two furlongs behind the British challenger, but Zahra had just kicked into high gear on Gold Trip, sweeping Deauville Legend with more than a stage to go before holding firm to fend off the late push of a another former British rider. to the emissary.

High Emocean, stablemate of the winner, took third place, just ahead of Deauville Legend with Without A Fight which was not placed.

Deauville Legend finished fourth after being kicked out favorite

Gold Trip was previously trained in France by Fabrice Chappet, where he was placed in Group 1 company several times and finished fourth in the 2020 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but had only won once. and the five-year-old had yet to triumph in five Australian outings.

For Zahra there was a compensation measure after missing the winning race aboard Verry Elleegant in last year’s race due to suspension.

Zahra told “This time last year I was watching Verry Elleegant win and I was getting blamed for drinking too much.

“To come a full year and have redemption on a horse like this, with good friends of mine who train the horse and own it, my wife is here and it’s an amazing feeling.”

Gold Trip was only beaten by a head in the Caulfield Cup in mid-October and Zahra joked: “I timed it perfectly so he wasn’t re-handicapped for today!

“He’s the kind of horse that when you go there you have to go, otherwise I think he can think about it. I went there and I was like ‘we still have a bit of a way to go here ‘.

“I doubted he would go 3200 (metres) but Ciaron, David and the team just got him today. It’s unbelievable.”

Maher and Eustace saddled five riders in the race and Maher said: “A fantastic effort from the whole team. He’s quite a risky horse. To have him in the Cup like that was fantastic.

“It opened up beautifully, we had a plan with Mark, he was very good with him in the Caulfield Cup and we just wanted to wait, wait, wait, we know he’s got that good turn of foot, he was fantastic .

“It’s amazing, it’s a dream come true, and I’m just thrilled.”

Eustace is the son of former Newmarket trainer James and brother of current trainer Harry, who saddled his first Royal Ascot winner in June.

He said: “I can’t believe it, obviously (I’m) a bit overwhelmed. It’s a dream we all want to achieve.

“It’s the pinnacle of our sport, to do it with Ciaron, obviously I’m very grateful to train with him. It’s a great honor to do this with all these good horses and an incredible team that we have, that’s full credit to them.

“It’s a credit to them to have five here and to this horse who was so unlucky in the Caulfield Cup. I was so disgusted when he was beaten, and I thought he was going to be beaten again , it’s just amazing.”

Sky Sports

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