Green Moon thundered down the straight to win the Melbourne Cup, upsetting a host of highly fancied foreign horses to bring Australia’s most coveted racing prize back home.
The Robert Hickmott-trained runner charged to the front 300 metres from the line and held off fast-finishing Fiorente to win the A$6.2 million (£4m) two-mile handicap by a length.
The Irish-bred six-year-old defied 19-1 odds and several quality European stayers to hand local jockey Brett Prebble his first Cup and owner Lloyd Williams his fourth. Third-placed Jakkalberry – trained by Marco Botti – finished a further length-and-a-quarter back. “It’s a lifelong dream,” said Prebble. “I thought the only thing that could get him beaten was his stamina if he didn’t stay the trip.
“But the feeling he was giving me at the 1,200 was the sort of feeling you only get from very good horses.”
Last year’s winner Dunaden and fellow French stayer Americain, who won the 2010 race, were leading fancies in the 24-runner field but failed to mount a serious challenge. The Mikel Delzangles-trained Dunaden started favourite despite carrying top weight but finished 14th, while Americain ran in 11th.
Americain’s non-placing spared the blushes of Australian racing administrators, criticised for allowing local jockey and former Cup winner Damien Oliver to ride despite being under investigation for illegal betting. Local media reported Oliver had admitted to stewards he had bet on a rival horse at a local race meeting two years ago. Oliver, who won the 2002 race on Media Puzzle, had been scheduled to ride Green Moon at the Cup and the Cox Plate last month but the 40-year-old was dumped by Williams after the corruption allegations emerged.
Williams, who previously won the Melbourne Cup with Just a Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985) and Efficient (2007), imported Green Moon in 2010 after the stallion failed to make a major impression in Britain when trained by Harry Dunlop. Green Moon’s fortunes improved dramatically Down Under, although few had backed him for the Cup after a disappointing seventh at last month’s 2,040-metre Cox Plate. “God bless everyone who wrote him off,” said Williams’ son and racing manager Nick.
Luca Cumani’s Mount Athos finished fifth, Ed Dunlop’s Red Cadeaux eight, while Godolphin’s Cavalryman was 12th.