Fiorente won the 153rd running of the A$6.2 million ($5.9 million) Melbourne Cup, improving on a runner-up finish 12 months ago to give Australian trainer Gai Waterhouse her first victory in the nation’s richest horse race.
Ridden by Damien Oliver, who claimed his third Melbourne Cup win, 6-1 favorite Fiorente surged past British-trained Red Cadeaux and Mount Athos in the 3,200-meter (2-mile) handicap at Flemington Racecourse to secure the A$3.6 million first prize.
Fiorente became the first Melbourne Cup favorite to triumph since Makybe Diva won for the third straight time in 2005. The victory made Waterhouse, 59, only the second woman to train the race’s winner after Sheila Laxon in 2001.
“It’s very exciting and I can’t even describe it,” said Waterhouse, who had trained the runner-up on three previous occasions. “I’m just so thrilled for the owners, because they bought the horse a year ago and it ran second the first time it goes around in the Melbourne Cup and then comes back and wins.”
Tabcorp Holdings Ltd., Australia’s largest racecourse betting company, paid A$7 for a winning A$1 bet and A$2.60 for a top-three place on Fiorente, which finished second to Green Moon last year. Red Cadeaux paid A$11.10 for a place and Mount Athos returned A$5 for finishing third.
Today’s race, which marked the 20th anniversary of Vintage Crop’s Melbourne Cup breakthrough win for a northern hemisphere-trained horse, attracted nine European-trained runners including 2011 winner Dunaden, which finished 11th carrying the top weight of 58.5 kilograms.
Brown Panther, co-owned and bred by former Liverpool and England soccer player Michael Owen, finished eighth. Owen said on Twitter the result was “pretty respectable” after his horse was struck into by another runner during the race, which was watched by 104,169 people trackside.
Irish-bred Fiorente spent his early career with British trainer Michael Stoute before transferring to Australia. Oliver, who was last year banned from racing for 10 months after betting on a rival horse that won a race in which he was riding, brought his mount from midfield to make his challenge with about 300 meters to go.
“There’s a lot of emotions going through my body at the moment,” said Oliver, who previously won Melbourne Cups on Doriemus and Media Puzzle. “I’m so rapt that I could be part of Gai’s first one. She was one of the first people who got behind me when I came back from suspension.”
Red Cadeaux, trained in Newmarket, England by Ed Dunlop, was 3/4 of a length back to finish as runner-up for the second time in three Melbourne Cup appearances, having been beaten by a nose by Dunaden two years ago. Mount Athos, trained by U.K.- based Luca Cumani, improved on last year’s fifth place.
Simenon, bidding to become the third Irish-trained horse to win the Melbourne Cup after Vintage Crop and Media Puzzle, finished fourth ahead of English stayer Dandino.
French mare Verema, owned by her breeder the Aga Khan, was euthanized after fracturing a right foreleg, race stewards said in a statement.
MELBOURNE CUP FINISHING ORDER: ============================== 1. Fiorente 2. Red Cadeaux 3. Mount Athos 4. Simenon 5. Dandino 6. Fawkner 7. Ethiopia 8. Brown Panther 9. Super Cool 10. Voleuse de Coeurs 11. Dunaden 12. Seville 13. Sea Moon 14. Royal Empire 15. Mourayan 16. Ibicenco 17. Foreteller 18. Masked Marvel 19. Dear Demi 20. Hawkspur 21. Green Moon 22. Tres Blue 23. Ruscello Did Not Finish: Verema