Horseracing 2023: Mark Zahra’s wife steals the show after Without A Fight wins Caulfield Cup

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The wife of Caulfield Cup winning jockey Mark Zahra has dropped an F-bomb in a wild interview after he husband rode Without A Fight to a stunning victory.

The 144-year-old race has finished in a thrilling race to the line with Without A Fight come home 0.2 lengths ahead of West Wind Blows with reigning Melbourne Cup champion Gold Trip finishing third two lengths back.

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But while Mark Zahra has completed a stunning victory in the $5 million race, his wife Elyse stole the show with Seven reporter Jason Richardson after the race.

As it was thrown to Richardson, Zahra screamed before saying: “Oh my God, I was so sick before this race.

“You know, my husband said ‘If you have a bad dream, you say it out loud and if you have a good dream, you don’t say it’. I only told him part of my good dream, and that was that we drew barrier 7, and we got that we drew barrier 7.

“But the other part of my dream was that we f**king won. That was my dream on Tuesday night. Oh sorry, I cussed.”

It’s been a wild week for Without A Fight with the horse needing to pass a veterinary inspection on Friday morning after having signs of lameness in his left front leg.

The six-year-old gelding previously had to pull out of the Zipping Classic last spring on veterinary advice, three weeks after competing in the Melbourne Cup.

Mrs Zahra said that it was tough on everyone.

“I have lost 10 years off my live this week because not only did we deal with the Gold Trip stuff (Mark Zahra is Gold Trip’s usual rider but was booked for Without A Fight) then we dealt with him not running, then he’s running 55.5kg — I already wasn’t speaking to him this week. Then I’m like, ‘Are you okay? Are you okay?’. That was my only questions ‘Are you okay? Okay, I don’t want to talk about it any more’ and then I was like ‘bye’.”

It’s the second time Mark has won the Caulfield Cup, having claimed the 2020 title on Verry Elleegant.

Zahra was also meant to ride Verry Elleegant in the 2021 Melbourne Cup, which the mare won, but had been banned for three months over the infamous Covid breach.

But when Gold Trip was a late acceptor to the Caulfield Cup, the jockey said he didn’t sleep after the news came down.

“It was like someone stealing your missus, someone else getting the ride on Gold Trip, I was a bit shattered,” Zahra said.

“I have an emotional bond like I don’t with any other horse, Gold Trip.

“And then I wasn’t on him. And then on Thursday, I was like ‘what the f**k are you doing?’

“After the last start I thought he (West Wind Blows) would win the Caulfield Cup.

“I said stop thinking about Gold Trip and start worrying about Without A Fight, but then the vet stuff came up but I was confident that he would pass.”

Without A Fight trainer Sam Freedman said despite the nervous wait for the veterinary inspection on Friday, the horse’s connections were never concerned about the horse’s ability to put in its best performance.

“As a trainer you would never send a horse to the races that you didn’t feel was ready to go,” Freedman said.

“This horse, we know him so well, and all the staff they worked tirelessly to get these results. When you have that nervous little wait you are feeling for them.”

Without A Fight has firmed from $15 to $7 for the Melbourne Cup with Gold Trip currently second in favouritism at $5 behind $4.50 favourite Vauban.

However, Zahra was also handed a seven-day suspension and $50,000 fine after “breaching the whip rules in the Caulfield Cup”, according to The Age’s chief racing reporter Damien Ractliffe.

2023 Caulfield Cup top four

1. Without A Fight

2. West Wind Blows

3. Gold Trip

4. Dois D’argent

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