Last updated on November 5, 2023  

2023 Melbourne Cup Tips and Odds

29th October 2023 Update: There’s been a few scratchings and retiring horses, so I’ve updated my favourites accordingly. I wish the retiring horses well. I also updated my trifecta picks.
4th November 2023 Update: I updated my boxed trifecta picks based on the analysis of bookies odds

The Melbourne Cup is not just a horse race. It is a national event that captures the attention of millions of Australians and fans across the globe. This is despite the ongoing mainstream media advocacy of the “nup to the cup” movement. Almost everyone looks forward to the first Tuesday of November, well, except for homeowners awaiting the next RBA cash rate announcement.

For everyone else, “the race that stops a nation” is a mainstay. The race is also one of the richest and most challenging in the world, with the distance of 3,200 metres netting prize money of $8 million. The race attracts the best horses from Australia and overseas, who compete for glory and history in front of a huge crowd at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne.

Lunar Flare is currently paying $4.50 to win the Melbourne Cup, which is a great value for a horse of her calibre. She has the stats behind her to have what it takes to beat the competition and claim the coveted trophy.

There have been many upsets and surprises in the past, such as when Prince of Penzance won at 100-1 odds in 2015, or when Makybe Diva won three consecutive cups from 2003 to 2005. The race is also affected by factors such as weather, track condition, barrier draw, weight handicap, and luck. The favourite can change right up until the horses get in the barrier, so continue to check back to see if we’ve updated our tips.

Soulcombe Horse

The favourite: Soulcombe

After the latest scratchings, Soulcombe is my new favourite to win the 2023 Melbourne Cup. This is  according to the latest odds I’ve analysed from the bookies. The four-year-old gelding, trained by Chris Waller, has shown impressive form in his recent races, especially in Melbourne. He has won four of his last five starts, including the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington. Here my reasons why Soulcombe is my top pick for the Flemington two-mile classic:

  • Soulcombe has won four races in a row, including the prestigious Caulfield Cup last month.
  • Soulcombe is trained by the legendary Chris Waller, who has won four Melbourne Cups in his career.
  • Soulcombe is ridden by James McDonald, one of the best jockeys in Australia and a previous Melbourne Cup winner.
  • Soulcombe has proven stamina and speed, having run the fastest final 600 metres in the Caulfield Cup and having won over 3200 metres before.
  • He is regally bred by Frankel out of a Group 1-winning mare, and has been suggested to excel at distances over a mile and a half and beyond.

Soulcombe has all the attributes of the next Melbourne Cup winner: pedigree, performance, preparation and potential. He will be hard to beat on the first Tuesday of November, and many punters will be backing him to claim the coveted trophy. He’s currently paying $9.25 to win at the TAB.

Why I think Vauban could also get up

Vauban is a chestnut gelding from France who has proven himself as an elite racehorse in both flat and hurdle races. He has won seven of his 14 starts, including a Group One triumph at Cheltenham in March 2022. Let’s look a little closer.

  • He is trained by Willie Mullins, one of the most successful trainers in the world, who has won four Melbourne Cups with Rekindling, Max Dynamite, Twilight Payment and Sir Lucan.
  • He is ridden by Colin Keane, the Irish champion jockey who has a great record in Australia, winning the Cox Plate with Romantic Warrior and the Golden Slipper with Zara Star.
  • He has qualified for the Melbourne Cup by winning the Ballyroan Stakes at Naas in August 2023, beating some quality rivals like Gooloogong and Pivotal Trigger.
  • He has shown versatility and adaptability, winning on different tracks, distances and surfaces, from 1600m to 3400m, from good to heavy ground, from flat to hurdles.
  • He has a favourable weight of 54kg, which gives him a good chance to cope with the gruelling 3200m of the Melbourne Cup.

Vauban is a strong contender for the Melbourne Cup 2023. He has the class, the form, the connections and the conditions to make a big impact in the race that stops a nation.

Why I think Gold Trip could get up

Gold Trip is another stunning French-bred horse that has shown impressive performance in Europe, winning the Prix Niel and finishing fourth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

  • Gold Trip is in line for a favourable barrier draw, which gives him a good chance to settle in a comfortable position and avoid traffic.
  • Gold Trip is trained by Fabrice Chappet, who has experience in preparing horses for the Melbourne Cup, having sent Dunaden to victory in 2011.
  • Gold Trip is ridden by Damien Oliver, one of the most successful jockeys in the history of the Melbourne Cup, with three wins and eight placings.

Gold Trip is currently paying $11 at the bookies, which makes him a value bet for the race. He has the pedigree, the form, the trainer and the jockey to challenge for the Cup. I think he is worth backing for a win or a place.

Francesco Guardi Retired

Francesco Guardi has sadly been retired from the Melbourne Cup. The ex-current favourite to win the 2023 Melbourne Cup, according to the latest odds from the bookies. The five-year-old gelding, trained by Chris Waller and sired by Frankel, has shown impressive form in his recent races, especially in Melbourne. Here my reasons why Francesco Guardi is my top pick for the Flemington two-mile classic:

  • He demolished his rivals in the 2022 Moonee Valley Gold Cup, winning by almost four lengths in a dominant display of stamina and speed.
  • He ran second in the 2022 Bart Cummings, despite nearly falling at the 1000m mark, and showed remarkable recovery and resilience.
  • He has been in work since June 2022, and has had a year to prepare for the Melbourne Cup, with Waller declaring that “all roads lead to the Melbourne Cup” for him.
  • He has a top jockey in Damien Oliver, who has won the Cox Plate four times before and knows how to ride the course.
  • He is regally bred by Frankel out of a Group 1-winning mare, and has been suggested to excel at distances over a mile and a half and beyond.

Francesco Guardi had all the attributes of the next Melbourne Cup winner: pedigree, performance, preparation and potential. He would have beeb hard to beat, and many punters would have backed him to claim the coveted trophy. He’s was currently paying $9.25 to win at the TAB when I first wrote this article.

Update: Lunar Flare also retired

Sadly, Lunar Flare has also been retired from the race. I’ve kept this information online to pay honour to this great racehorse. Lunar Flare was one of the most promising contenders for the 2023 Melbourne Cup, according to the bookies and the experts. The five-year-old mare had shown impressive form in her recent races, also winning the Listed Lexus Andrew Ramsden back in May. Here’s why I thought Lunar Flare could get up on November 7:

  • She has a proven track record at long distances, having won the Sydney Cup over 3200 metres in April.
  • She has a favourable barrier draw, which gives her a good chance to avoid traffic and find a clear run.
  • She has a strong jockey-trainer combination, with Michael Dee riding her for the third time.
  • She has a low weight of 53.5 kilograms, which gives her an advantage over some of the heavier horses in the field.
  •  She has a lot of stamina and speed, which are essential qualities for a Melbourne Cup winner.

Lunar Flare was paying $4.50 at the time of publishing to win the Melbourne Cup, which is a great value for a horse of her calibre. I believe she could have had what it takes to beat the competition and claim the coveted trophy.

Melbourne Cup Trifecta Tips

Now we’re getting closer to the race and we’ve have a few horses pull out, I’m more confident in backing a trifecta. I put all the odds from Sportsbet, TAB, Neds, Ladbrokes and Bet365 into a spreadsheet and here’s what came out.

  • 1st: Vauban
  • 2nd: Gold Trip
  • 3rd: Without A Fight

This combination offers a good balance of value and probability and covers some of the most likely outcomes. But… it’s the Melbourne Cup, anything can happen. There’s so many other horses that could surprise or disappoint on the day. But, based on the current form and odds, I believe this is a solid Trifecta bet that could pay off handsomely.

What are the bookies saying

It’s getting close to the jump and it’s worth noting that the odds can change significantly in the lead-up to the race, as well as on the day itself. It’s a good idea to compare your odds across the main betting sites. Here’s what my top 3 contenders are paying across the sites.

Horse Bet365 Ladbrokes Sportsbet Neds TAB
Francesco Guardi 9.00 9.50 10.00 9.00 9.00
Lunar Flare 11.00 12.00 11.00 11.00 11.00
Vauban 13.00 14.00 13.00 13.00 13.00
Gold Trip 9.00 9.00 9.00 9.00 9.00
Without A Fight 34.00 34.00 34.00 34.00 34.00

As you can see, there’s a bit of a difference between the 5 and choosing a site that has the best odds for the horse you want will be key. Without a Fight is an outside chance, but could end up in a big payday.

Pro Tips

For example, if you want to back Vauban to win the Melbourne Cup, you can get an extra $1 per dollar bet by choosing Ladbrokes over the others. Similarly, if you fancy Gold Trip or Without a Fight, you’d be best to find another bookie as the current ones are all equal.

By following the odds and doing your research in the lead up to the race, you can increase your chances of picking a winner and a chance to have a profitable day at the races.

Melbourne Boxed Cup 2023 Trifecta Tips

Picking a boxed trifecta in the Melbourne Cup is like getting a golden goose. It’s extremely rare, but not impossible. Here’s my tips for the boxed trifecta, but keep in mind these aren’t a sure bet. Picking a boxed trifecta is hard!

  • Vauban for the win. This French horse has been highly impressive in last few race. He’s won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Prix du Jockey Club. He features impressively strong stamina and a good turn of foot, which are essential for the Melbourne Cup. He’s also well suited to the Flemington track, which is similar to the Longchamp course where he won the Arc. He is the clear favourite and deserves to be.
  • Gold Trip coming in second. Another French horse, Gold Trip is a consistent performer who’s finished in the top three in his last six starts. He was second to Vauban in the Prix du Jockey Club, and third in the Arc. He has a good pedigree, being a son of the legendary Frankel, and a good temperament, being calm and relaxed. He is also well weighted, carrying only 54.5 kg. This has the potential to give him an advantage over some of the heavier horses.
  • Without A Fight rounding out in third. This British horse is a dark horse who could surprise many. He has won four of his seven starts, including the Ebor Handicap This race is a good lead-up race for the Melbourne Cup. He has a good stamina, having won over 3200 m, the same distance as the Melbourne Cup. He also has a good jockey, Hugh Bowman, who has won the Melbourne Cup four times. He is a value bet, with generous odds of 7.00.

So there you go, if you’re game go for a trifecta. I will be so let’s hope John Powers has the goods this year!

The Bottom Line

I’m super excited for the 2023 edition of the Melbourne Cup. I always make a day of it by taking a cheeky annual leave day. This year is promising to be a thrilling contest, with many strong contenders vying for the coveted trophy. I’m was really looking forward to seeing Francesco Guardi battle it out with Lunar Flare. Now we’ve got Soulcombe and Vauban fighting for for top place on the podium.

These three horses are the ones to watch, but as the last hundred years have shown, anything can happen on the day in such an unpredictable event.

Disclaimer: If you are planning to place a bet online, please do so responsibly and only with licensed operators. Remember that gambling is a form of entertainment, not a source of income, and that you should never bet more than you can afford to lose.

John Power
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