Damien Oliver celebrates after winning the Melbourne Cup on FiorentePICTURE: Getty Images
Fiorente wins Cup from Red Cadeaux and Athos
Report: Tuesday, Australia
Flemington: Emirates Melbourne Cup (Group 1) 3yo+, 2m
BRITISH-trained horses finished second and third in the Melbourne Cup but Australia's greatest race went to the home team as last year's runner-up Fiorente beat Red Cadeaux and Mount Athos in a dramatic finish.
It was a first Melbourne Cup victory for the hugely popular Gai Waterhouse, one of Australia's most successful trainers, who had hit the crossbar on three previous occasions.
"It's a dream come true," she said. "He's a pleasure to train. He's never disappointed us."
For the British contingent, however, it was another case of so near and yet so far. The race continues to elude British runners but Red Cadeaux, who was also second in the 2011 Cup, and Mount Athos ran magnificent races in defeat.
The Willie Mullins-trained Simenon finished fourth and Marco Botti's Dandino came fifth, while Brown Panther was prominent throughout much of the race but faded from contention in the straight to finish eighth. Brown Panther, co-owned by Michael Owen, suffered a cut to his near foreleg but scans showed the injury to be superficial.
The 6-1 winner was formerly trained by Sir Michael Stoute and is Irish bred, but this was unmistakably a home triumph, involving two of the biggest names in Australian racing.
Damien Oliver, the winning rider, was lifting the Cup for the third time after wins on Doriemus in 1995 and Media Puzzle in 2002. However, he is a controversial figure to some after being suspended for 10 months last year for betting on a rival horse.
Oliver delivered a well-timed run on Fiorente, sending his mount wide round the final bend before launching his attack down the centre of the track before a heaving and screaming crowd of over 104,000.
It developed into a two-horse race in the final furlong, as Fiorente came with his devastating charge on the outside of the Ed Dunlop-trained veteran Red Cadeaux.
For a few strides it looked as though Red Cadeaux would rally and the pair briefly went eyeball-to-eyeball, but in the last half furlong stamina and weight told as Fiorente forged clear for victory.
It was another remarkable performance from the seven-year-old Red Cadeaux. The globetrotter has now raced in six countries this year alone, beginning his campaign with a second-placed finish in the Dubai World Cup, the world's richest race.
However, his trainer admitted he feared Red Cadeaux was approaching the end of his career after a below par fourth in the Irish St Leger, his previous race.
"I was disappointed with him in Ireland and thought maybe the old boy was finished. That's why I called this his zimmer frame tour, but as soon as he gets on a plane and then gets here he grows another leg," said Dunlop.
"He has carried more weight today but still probably run better than when second two years ago. Full credit to my staff and to Gerald [Mosse] for a great ride. If I have my way we'll be back again."
Mount Athos's owner Marwan Koukash said: "I'm a bit disappointed but with a better draw I think we would have won. We'll try again next year with this horse and possibly one other."
Mullins said of Simenon: "We're very pleased. It looked when we were turning for home that we had a real chance and we played all our cards but better horses beat us on the day. We don't have any excuses. Everything went right the whole way.
"We'd have no problem coming back and we'll hopefully have another to come back with him. We'll see how he comes out of this race but we're looking at the Japan Cup and Hong Kong Vase."
Dandino is likely to head to Hong Kong next month following his fifth-placed finish.
"A mile and a half is his ideal trip and I think we'll go back to that trip for the Hong Kong Vase," said Botti.
"Ryan [Moore] said he quickened but in the last furlong he emptied out. We have to accept he isn't a two-mile horse."
Alain de Royer Dupre's Verema was put down after breaking down in the back straight.
Also on Tuesday
Jamie Spencer recorded a brace of thirds at Flemington as he rode Peter Chapple-Hyam's Caravan Rolls On in the Carnival Handicap and Jane Chapple-Hyam's Mull Of Killough in the Listed Victoria Plate.
Don't miss Lee Mottershead's Melbourne Cup coverage in Wednesday's Racing Post