Green Moon prevails under new jockey
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)
Green Moon gave owner Lloyd Williams his fourth Melbourne Cup with a one-length win in Australia's richest and most prestigious horse race at Flemington on Tuesday.
The locally trained English import, ridden by Hong Kong-based Australian jockey Brett Prebble, held off Fiorente and Jakkalberry in the $6,175,000 handicap race over 3,200 meters, with the favorites well beaten.
The first seven horses across the line were bred in Ireland.
Six of the eight favorites in the 152nd running of the race were from overseas but last year's winner Dunaden and 2010 champion Americain, both French trained, were among the fancied runners to finish well behind in the 24-horse field. Americain was 11th and Dunaden 14th.
Americain was ridden by Australian jockey Damien Oliver, who has been implicated in a scandal involving large bets the veteran rider placed on a rival horse in a race two years ago.
Oliver was originally scheduled to ride Green Moon but was taken off the mount by the horse's connections after the allegations were made public. Racing Victoria chief executive Rob Hines would not comment on the situation Tuesday except to say he expected the investigation to be completed in the next week or 10 days.
Green Moon paid $20.80 to win and the trifecta for the leading three horses returned $51,177.
Fiorente was the third Cup runner-up for leading Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse, who is still yet to win Australia's biggest race. She previously trained Te Akau Nick (1993) and Nothin' Leica Dane (1995) to runner-up placings.
Irish galloper Jakkalberry was a further 1-1/4 lengths away in third.
Prebble said Green Moon, handled by local trainer Robert Hickmott, got a "severe check" about 250 meters from the start which put him on the fence.
"But he's a quality horse, and I put it to him on the straightening," said Prebble. "I was very confident they weren't going to pick him up — he ran all the way through to the wire."
Two weeks ago, Green Moon started as favorite in the Cox Plate, Australia's richest weight-for-age race, but finished seventh, accounting for his generous odds on Tuesday.
Williams is a former business partner of one of Australia's richest men, the late Kerry Packer, and once owned Melbourne's Crown Casino. Now a property developer, Williams was not at Flemington on Tuesday to watch the race.
"He puts a lot into racing and he's a very good supporter of mine," Prebble said of Williams. "He's never here. He's going to be at home enjoying it. It's lovely."
Williams's son Nick was ecstatic after accepting the trophy from Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Her husband, Prince Charles, and Camilla were among the crowd of more than 100,000 at Flemington in inner western Melbourne.
"We put a lot of money in and a heck of a lot of effort so to get this result today is terrific," Nick Williams said. "God bless everyone who wrote him off."