Craig Williams will now ride Lastotchka at the 2023 Melbourne Cup
Few races bring as much conjecture and drama as the Melbourne Cup and Craig Williams’s decision to switch horses at the 11th hour has bookies and punters in a flap
- Experienced jockey Craig Williams has switched his 2023 Melbourne Cup ride.
- Williams was set to be on board Soulcombe but has jumped ship to French hope Lastotchka.
- In an accomplished 30-year career, Williams’s solitary Melbourne Cup triumph came on board Vow and Declare in 2019.
- Soulcombe will now be ridden by the equally prolific Joao Moreira, as both chase Melbourne Cup glory.
Jostling for position in the Melbourne Cup has long been action amongst trainers, owners, and jockeys but in the modern age of online betting, increased scrutiny is always placed on any big movements.
Following an underwhelming outing at the Caulfield Cup last time out, jockey Craig Williams has decided to move away from Soulcombe and board the French flyer Lastotchka.
Whether that is a wise decision remains to be seen but such movements inevitably add to the speculation and intrigue surrounding the 2023 Melbourne Cup.
The news that Williams was to switch horses just two weeks out from the Melbourne Cup inevitably had the major Aussie bookmakers with betting markets shifting accordingly.
Soulcombe has delivered a couple of indifferent rides with Williams on board of late and the move could prove to be inspired for all parties, if either Soulcombe or Lastotchka come good at Flemington on November 7th.
Not good for the Soul
A product of the incredible Frankel bloodline, high hopes have always been present for Soulcombe. Snapped up as a youngster by Chris Waller and moved over to Australia from the UK – Soulcombe has always looked the part, if perhaps not picking up the wins many would have expected.
Dealing in Group 1 races is no easy task and placing at the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington was a good return for Soulcombe but there is a feeling amongst betting sites and punters that the full potential hasn’t been displayed yet.
The final straw for Williams appears to have been the underwhelming run at the Caulfield Cup on Saturday 21st October, where pace seemed to be an issue – both at the start and the end of the race.
It is easy to forget that Soulcombe is only a 4-year-old and could have a bright future ahead, with temperamental rides part of the maturity process for all horses.
The luxury a jockey such as Craig Williams has at their disposal, is that they can change rides for a race as significant as the Melbourne Cup, something plenty of other jockeys would kill for.
Williams has been operating at the sharp end of Australian racing for three decades, with his solitary Melbourne Cup triumph coming back in 2019.
Jumping ship from Soulcombe probably will have come as a surprise to many, with Williams seen as the ideal fit for a horse with that temperament but the Melbourne Cup remains the biggest draw in the game.
Moving to Lastotchka will be a real change in pace for Williams, with as many question marks surrounding the French horse as there are answers.
However, speed and stamina are the ultimate tests in the Melbourne Cup and with Lastotchka having demonstrated both on plenty of occasions previously in France, it could be a bold move that pays off for Williams.
Plenty of other big names in the mix
With jockeys moving and shaking and owners and trainers all looking for the marginals that could propel them to Melbourne Cup glory, the stakes over the next couple of weeks could not be higher.
Williams’s decision to change his ride could prove to be inspired, as he and Lastotchka looks to chase down some of the more favoured horses in the paddock.
Willie Mullins has spoken frequently of his desire to land a Melbourne Cup and his speedster Vauban looks to be the one to beat with many Aussie bookmakers.
2022 winner Gold Trip has been showing good form of late and could be ready to spring another surprise this year, whilst the likes of Without A Fight and Lunar Flare should be fully in contention at Flemington too.
Craig Williams has decided to change his ride at the 2023 Melbourne Cup, jumping off the highly rated Soulcombe and getting on board French flyer Lastotchka.
Whether this decision pays off remains to be seen but for the connections of both horses, the Melbourne Cup dream is very much alive and it promises to be another race to remember at Flemington on November 7th.