Almandin has won the 2016 Melbourne Cup at Flemington. Sixteen years after a 20-year-old kid called Kerrin McEvoy won the Melbourne Cup aboard Brew, the jockey who nowadays plies his trade around the world has claimed another. It's the longest ever gap between Cup wins for any jockey.
In a stirring battle which lasted for much of the Flemington straight, Almandin edged out Heartbreak City. Cup favourite Hartnell ran third after hitting the lead early in the straight, but was soon beaten off, in a strong suggestion it is more of a middle distance horse.
The winner started at odds of $11, while Heartbreak City was a $19 chance. Hartnell started at $5.50 for the dollar.
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Almandin is a lightly-raced seven-year--old gelding who is trained Robert Hickmott, and owned by Lloyd Williams, who has now claimed his fifth Melbourne Cup
"Gee, he travelled well. How lucky am I mate?" McEvoy said afterwards. "The elation, the elation is unreal mate.
"I like these staying races, and I love the Melbourne Cup."
You can see why.
Williams brought Almandin to Australia in June 2016, but the horse did little in its first three starts. Then things changed. It won a 2400m race at Caulfield, then won the 2500m "Bart Cummings" over 2500m at Flemington -- yes, the late great trainer who led in 12 Cup winners now has a race named after him. How fitting that a horse should win it en route to Melbourne Cup glory.
Almandin will not go down as a great of the Australian turf, but this will definitely go down as one of the Melbourne Cups because of the enthralling two horse battle. Not since Champagne and Jezabeel went stride for stride together in 1998 have two horses fought so valiantly down the length of the Flemington straight.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based Brazilian jockey Joao Moreira was a great sport after losing such a tense finish.
"He didn't break my heart," said Moreira of his mount Heartbreak City. Haha. Nice.
For those who had a bet or took a runner on the office sweep, here's the official finishing order. The first number is where it finished. The second is the saddlecoth number it wore.
1. (17) ALMANDIN
2. (13) Heartbreak City
3. (6) Hartnell
4. (23) Qewy
5. (7) Who Shot Thebarman
6. (9) Almoonqith
7. (16) Beautiful Romance
8. (5) Exospheric
9. (22) Pentathlon
10. (1) Big Orange
11. (11) Grand Marshal
12. (20) Oceanographer
13. (4) Bondi Beach
14. (19) Grey Lion
15. (12) Jameka
16. (15) Excess Knowledge
17. (2) Our Ivanhowe
18. (14) Sir John Hawkwood
19. (18) Assign
20. (10) Gallante
21. (21) Secret Number
22. (8) Wicklow Brave
23. (3) Curren Mirotic
Hopelessly last. (24) Rose Of Virginia
More to come.Suggest a correction