Caulfield Cup’s Newest Golden Ticket

The Melbourne Racing Club will extend an invitation to the winner of June’s $1.2 million Q22 at Eagle Farm to contest the Caulfield Cup, hoping to find its next Without A Fight.

Team Freedman travelled to Queensland’s Winter Carnival last year and claimed the lucrative event with their subsequent Caulfield and Melbourne Cup winner, a year after Numerian won the feature before running fifth in the Caulfield Cup, while Zaaki is another notable previous winner.

The Q22 becomes the first interstate race to be given ballot exemption for the Caulfield Cup, joining the Underwood Stakes, Naturalism Stakes, Herbert Power Stakes, Might And Power Stakes, Mornington Cup, Coongy Handicap and Turnbull Stakes, alongside a number of international contests.

MRC Executive Director, Racing and Operations, Jake Norton, said the announcement had been a long time coming and was first close to approval before COVID struck.

“After Without A Fight winning the Q22 last year and going on to win the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, it was pretty obvious paper to dust off,” Norton explained.

“If you look at the recent winners, they are all very high quality and on the back of Without A Fight, we’d love to see similar replicated.

“The Q22 is well positioned given the time of year in an otherwise quiet time of year in Victoria, it’s always nice to be able to remind people of the Caulfield Cup.”

Norton said the announcement is a further step in an alliance built in recent years with the Brisbane Racing Club and the Australian Turf Club, which sees reciprocal rights amongst all three clubs’ members, including on their feature race days.

Without A Fight became the first horse since Ethereal in 2001 to claim the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double and Norton is hopeful it encourages more connections to take up the challenge.

“One of the great concepts or traditions in racing when I was growing up was the Cups double and it has seemed to diminish somewhat,” he admitted.

“There’s a frustrating fear from connections about being penalised for winning the Caulfield Cup into the Melbourne Cup, which may be a contributor, but there has been the rapid evolution of the internationals also.

“Given it was the first time in 20 plus years Without A Fight won both, it demonstrated comfortably that penalties can be overcome and hopefully it’s something we see more of.”


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