Caulfield Cup Winner Suspended for Breaching Whip Rules

Ben H / 23 October 2023

Mark Zahra won the Caulfield Cup but has also been suspended for seven meets and fined $50,000 for exceeding the maximum number of whips permitted in a race.

The Caulfield Cup winner landed a total of thirteen lashes on Without A Fight, whipping the horse he rode to victory as many as nine times before reaching the 100-metre mark, four more than the rules allow. Zahra’s suspension will start after the Cox Plate, where he will ride Gold Trip.

Devastated to Go Up Against Gold Trip

After winning the Caulfield Cup, Zahra spoke about his reaction to the news he would be racing against Gold Trip, the horse he won the Melbourne Cup with last year. He said that he had to give himself “an uppercut” on Thursday because he couldn’t sleep the night before.

Zahra added he was “a bit shattered” to go against the horse he had “an emotional bond with” and compared racing against Gold Trip to someone stealing his missus.

However, Zahra said he quickly snapped out of it, realizing that he picked his horse for the Caulfield Cup and told trainer Sam Freedman he thought he would win it. From then on, all of Zahra’s focus was on Without A Fight, and he stopped worrying about Gold Trip.

Without A Fight had an injury scare before the race and failed his veterinary evaluation on Thursday. However, Zahra said he knew the horse would pass, as he was “just a lazy trotter.” By Friday, both horse and jockey were ready to go.

Without A Fight was followed by West Wind Blows in second and Gold Trip in third. He was Zahra’s second Caulfield Cup-winning horse, after triumphing in 2020 with Verry Elleegant.

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Ben H
Ben Harris is the Communications Manager for KRUZEY, an AFL expert, and writer. He has one daughter that he loves dearly and four children's books... [Read full bio]

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