Without a Fight wins 163rd running of Melbourne Cup

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Irish-bred seven-year-old Without a Fight won the 163rd running of the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday ahead of Soulcombe and Sheraz over the 3,200 meters in Australia’s most famous horse race.

The only horse in the race for co-trainers Anthony and Sam Freedman, Without a Fight was ridden by Mark Zahra and weaved its way through the field in the final stages to win by two lengths and the $5.4 million purse.

It was Zahra’s second-straight win in the storied race, having won on Gold Trip last year. He is the first jockey since 1979 to win consecutive Melbourne Cup’s on different horses. 

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

Starting at barrier 16, Without A Fight was well back in the field through the fast early stages of the race but had plenty left in reserve as it powered through the field in the straight, with the Chris Waller trained Soulcombe and Sheraz also surging late for the minor placings.

Pre-race favourite Vauban, trained by Ireland’s Willie Mullins, briefly threatened in the final straight before fading to finish 14th and 13 lengths behind the winner.

Last year’s winner French-bred Gold Trip placed 17th out of the field of 23 horses to start the race.

AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports

The Associated Press

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