The Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente has won the Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
Damien Oliver won his third Cup after holding up Fiorente in the straight before letting down the favourite to win the race by a length from English stayers Red Cadeaux and Mount Athos.
It was a first win at the Melbourne Cup for the popular trainer Waterhouse while it has been a remarkable comeback by Oliver, who only returned to racing in September after he was suspended for 10 months for betting on a rival horse.
An excited Waterhouse praised Oliver for his ride.
“Didn’t he ride him a treat? Honestly and truly,” Waterhouse said.
“Got back to about 12th. It was quite a solidly run race. Then he just kept trekking up and trekking up. It was just fantastic. It was a dream come true. I’m so thrilled.”
An emotional Oliver said it was an honour to be involved in the first Cup win for Waterhouse.
“I’m so rapt that I could be a part of Gai’s first one,” Oliver said.
“She’s done so much for racing. It’s a great honour for me to help bring her home her first one.”
He said Waterhouse supported him as soon as he returned from his suspension.
“Gai was one of the first people to really get behind me when I came back. I can’t thank her enough for helping me get going again,” he said.
“We have been a great team together.”
Fiorente went one better than his second place to Green Moon in last year’s Cup.
All placegetters were experienced Cup runners. Red Cadeaux ran a narrow second in 2011 before finishing eighth last year.
Mount Athos was an unlucky fifth last year.
Waterhouse’s other runner Tres Blue was only allowed to start the race after being cleared by stewards following treatment for an irritated hoof.
Top-weight Dunaden was also treated on race day for an ulcer but was allowed to start.
Oliver’s third Cup victory followed wins on Doriemus in 1995 and Media Puzzle in 2002 when riding just days after the death of his brother Jason.
He has now ridden 98 Group One victories and Oliver said he was very confident heading into the Cup.
“It’s a bit like having a Christmas present and not being able to open it,” Oliver said.
“I’ve been really excited about riding this horse and trying to keep a lid on it. They went really hard early.
“I wanted to be closer, but I was going to have to force him to be there.
“He moved into the race beautifully on the turn. It was just a matter of holding him off, and he was too strong.”
Ruscello finished last after Verema broke down and failed to finish. The horse had to be euthanised following the race.
Last year’s winner Green Moon pulled up lame.
Final finishing order:-
2. Red Cadeaux
3. Mount Athos
8. Brown Panther
9. Super Cool
10. Voleuse De Coeurs
13. Sea Moon
14. Royal Empire
18. Masked Marvel
19. Dear Demi
21. Green Moon
22. Tres Blue
24. Verema (failed to finish)
|3. Red Cadeaux||$11.40|
|15. Mount Athos||$4.30|
|Trifecta – 6-3-15||$3,362.40|
|Quinella – 6-3||$169.12|
|Exacta – 6-3||$295.20|
|First 4 – 6-3-15-19||$118,652|