- Zahra gave the crowd a two-fingered gesture
- Jockey said he ‘didn’t know what he was thinking’
- It was his second straight triumph in the Cup
Aussie jockey Mark Zahra thought he put his foot in it moments after storming home to win the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday in front of an 80,000 strong crowd at Flemington.
Without a Fight sliced through the pack to beat the field of 23 local and international horses over 3200m for a massive $8million in prizemoney.
Zahra rode the 2022 winner Gold Trip and made it back-to-back after choosing to ride Without a Fight this Spring Carnival.
Moments after crossing the line, Zahra gave the crowd a two-fingered gesture that he realised immediately might have been offensive to some people.
‘They all made their moves and it opened up for me,’ Zahra said after the race.
Without A Fight stormed through the field to win the 2023 Melbourne Cup and give jockey Mark Zahra a second victory in the race that stops the nation
The jockey gave the crowd a two-fingered gesture afterwards that he regretted right away
‘I was on a horse you can sit on. He’s got an electric turn of foot and he pulled me all the way to the line.
‘It was all over and I stood up giving the two fingers for two winners. I don’t know what I was thinking. Idiot.’
Zahra hit the lead at the 300 metre mark and pulled away quickly, beating the field by three lengths.
‘The stars aligned for Gold Trip last year and aligned for this horse this year. Just a few things and the way he won the Caulfield Cup, I was confident he would run it,’ Zahra said.
Speaking later, he admitted to giving Gold Trip ‘a bit of a pat’ before the Cup, but said he had moved on from last year’s glory.
‘I still give him a wink but I’ve moved right on. My sole focus was to win again on this horse’
Fellow trainer Sam Freedman described Zahra’s ride as ‘extraordinary’.
Following the race, Zahra called himself an ‘idiot’ for the gesture
The win completed a Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double for Without A Fight and Zahra
‘He got him onto the rail from a wide gate, relaxed, swimmed him off and pretty confident probably the 800m he was travelling.
‘He just needed the brakes to come. He’s a freak. No doubts on the trip there late. He was excellent.’