FAVOURITE Fiorente just held off Britain’s Red Cadeaux to win the A$6 million Melbourne Cup, giving controversial jockey Damien Oliver his third victory in the two-mile classic and trainer Gai Waterhouse her long-awaited first triumph in Australia’s most prestigious race.
The 6-1 shot finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Red Cadeaux with Mount Athos in third place. Brown Panther, bred and owned by former England striker Michael Owen, faded into eighth.
Fiorente was runner-up in last year’s Melbourne Cup, while Red Cadeaux was narrowly beaten into second place in 2011. Fiorente’s victory made Scots-born Waterhouse the first registered Australian female trainer to prepare a Melbourne Cup winner. Wales-born, New Zealand-based Sheila Laxon was the first woman to officially train a Melbourne Cup winner when Ethereal took the title in 2001.
Oliver, who is two months into his return after serving a ban for betting on a rival horse in 2010, thanked Waterhouse for giving him the chance and said he was proud to deliver her a first Melbourne Cup.
“She’s done so much for racing. It’s a great honour for me to help bring her home her first one,” Oliver said.
Meanwhile, Tony McCoy will have to wait until Chepstow today at the earliest for his 4,000th winner after drawing a blank with three rides at Exeter to remain on the 3,998 mark. McCoy was narrowly denied in the opening novice hurdle on Flemenson by Rydon Pynes, while his mount in the following race, Keen Eye, flopped. His third ride of the afternoon, Well Hello There, was also well beaten. The 18-times champion jockey has two booked rides at the Welsh venue today – the Rebecca Curtis-trained El Macca in the maiden hurdle and Jonjo O’Neill’s Mission Complete, who could be appropriately named should he land the handicap hurdle.
• Musselburgh are expecting a bumper crowd at Friday’s free Saints & Sinners raceday with 4,000 tickets so far snapped up by racegoers. The East Lothian course will allow free entry at the gate but recommends booking in advance to avoid disappointment if the 6,000 capacity attendance figure is reached.