Without A Fight was the name on everyone’s lips after winning the 2023 Caulfield Cup on Saturday in emphatic/thrilling fashion over 2400m.
Mark Zahra rode the gelding from Ireland, a $7 chance with bookies to perfection, holding off a fast finishing West Wind Blows ($7.50), with pre-race favourite Gold Trip ($6.50) crossing the line in third spot.
‘What a moment – I’m so happy,’ a jubilant Zahra told Channel Seven post race.
‘I don’t really celebrate much but with the week I’ve had, some of the things that have gone on.
‘My wife gave me a kick this week and said just focus on the ride you have got, it’s a good chance.’
Jockey Mark Zahra impressed early in the day when he guided Brave Mead (left) to victory
Eager punters (pictured) piled into the track ahead of the first race at Caulfield from 12.15pm
Champion jockey Damien Oliver is racing his final Spring Carnival after he recently announced he will be retiring from the sport come December (pictured left, with his family)
Punters were looking sharp, with a number catching the eye with their dress sense trackside (pictured)
The crowd number swelled by the hour, as anticipation built up to the Group 1 race
Punters of all ages mingled on Saturday, with Spring Carnival clearly in full swing (pictured)
Bec Judd – the wife of AFL legend Chris Judd – dazzled in a daring blue dress (pictured) with a matching hat and clutch
AFL legend turned radio identity Brendan Fevola (pictured left) enjoyed himself in the VIP section alongside his wife Alex
Racegoers react after race 8 – the Moonga Stakes – which was won by Buffalo River
As the afternoon continued, some punters became more animated trackside (pictured)
It came after connections opted for rival hoop Ben Melham to ride Gold Trip, as opposed to a shattered Zahra, who well and truly had the last laugh.
The Group 1 Caulfield Cup, first staged in 1879, is a time-honoured race that many Australian racing fans eagerly scribble onto their sporting calendar.
And with $3million in prizemoney awaiting the winner, elite figures from the sport of kings were spotted in every direction as they looked to be etched into the history books.
With the Spring Carnival officially in full swing, eager punters piled into the track ahead of the first race at 12.15pm, where Japanese pre-race favourite Brave Mead saluted ahead of the Gai Waterhouse trained The Instructor.
Veteran jockey Damien Oliver – who recently announced he will be retiring from the sport in December, was a popular winner of race four on board Arkansaw Kid.
As the day progressed, drinks flowed in some quarters as punters let their hair down and enjoyed a day trackside.
A number of celebrities were spotted in the VIP sections, including model Bec Judd, AFL legend Brendan Fevola as well as comedian/TV presenter Andy Lee.