10/1 Al­mandin wins Mel­bourne Cup thriller

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Al­mandin pipped Heart­break City in a thrilling fin­ish to the Mel­bourne Cup yes­ter­day, giv­ing Aus­tralian owner Lloyd Wil­liams a record fifth win in the ‘race that stops a na­tion’. The for­mer Ger­man gal­loper, start­ing at 10/1, edged Ire­land’s Heart­break City (18/1) af­ter a stir­ring run at Flem­ing­ton to give jockey Ker­rin McEvoy his sec­ond Mel­bourne Cup, 16 years af­ter his first.

The 9/2 race favourite Hart­nell, one of five Godol­phin run­ners, was third, 4-1/4 lengths back in the Aus$6.2 mil­lion (US$4.7 mil­lion) in­ter­na­tional race over 3,200 me­tres (two miles). It was a sec­ond Cup tri­umph for lo­cal trainer Robert Hick­mott, who nursed Al­mandin back to rac­ing health af­ter 18 months out fol­low­ing a ten­don in­jury af­ter ac­quir­ing the seven-year-old geld­ing in Ger­many.

McEvoy, who won his first Mel­bourne Cup with Brew in 2000, got Al­mandin home from the Tony Mar­tin-trained Ir­ish stayer Heart­break City, rid­den by Hong Kong-based Brazil­ian jockey Joao Mor­eira.

“Lloyd, he knows what to do in these stay­ing races. It’s just a dream. It’s great to be part of it again for my sec­ond Cup,” McEvoy said.

His wife Cathy Payne, whose sis­ter Michelle be­came the first fe­male jockey to win on Prince of Pen­zance in last year’s Mel­bourne Cup, is due to give birth to the cou­ple’s fourth child and he thanked her for “putting up with me the last few weeks”. The win made Wil­liams, 76, the founder of Mel­bourne’s Crown Casino, the most suc­cess­ful owner in Mel­bourne Cup his­tory fol­low­ing his pre­vi­ous suc­cesses with Just a Dash (1981), What a Nui­sance (1985), Ef­fi­cient (2007) and Green Moon (2012). He passed French­man Eti­enne de Mestre, Aus­tralian John Tait and Malaysian Dato Tan Chin Nam to set a new record for win­ners over the race’s long his­tory.

It was the first time Wil­liams had been at a Mel­bourne Cup for 20 years, and he had not been track­side to watch one of his horses win since What A Nui­sance was first past the post in 1985.

“This horse (Al­mandin) had a ten­don (in­jury) and he was bro­ken down so I’m quite emo­tional about this one,” Wil­liams said. “The boys at Mace­don (Lodge) have done a fab­u­lous job get­ting this horse back.” The 156th run­ning of Aus­tralia’s iconic race pro­duced one of its great fin­ishes, with both horses burn­ing off Hart­nell at the 200m (fur­long) be­fore go­ing stride for stride to the fin­ish.

McEvoy man­aged to get that ounce more out of Al­mandin to squeeze home and just af­ter cross­ing the line, Mor­eira sport­ingly reached out to con­grat­u­late his vic­to­ri­ous ri­val.

“I couldn’t win on him to­day, but I’m go­ing home not dis­ap­pointed or up­set,” Mor­eira said.

“In the last 50m I knew my horse was start­ing to get tired. Giv­ing the best of him­self for a long way. So the other one had a bit ex­tra left and he got me on the line.” It was more Mel­bourne Cup heart­break for the global Godol­phin sta­ble, which again failed to win the race de­spite pep­per­ing the field with five run­ners. Dubai ruler Sheikh Mo­hammed’s rac­ing em­pire has now gone al­most 20 years with­out tast­ing vic­tory at Flem­ing­ton de­spite three sec­ond plac­ings. “I’m ex­tremely proud of him,” Hart­nell’s trainer John O’Shea said. “He was wide for much of the race and he still put him­self into it.”

An­other Godol­phin run­ner, Qewy, was fourth, with Who Shot The­bar­man fifth. English stayer Big Or­ange fin­ished 10th with an­other well-sup­ported Godol­phin run­ner Oceanog­ra­pher 12th. Ir­ish con­tenders Bondi Beach was 13th and Wick­low Brave 22nd in the 24-horse field. Jameka, the only Aus­tralian-bred horse in the race and the lead-up Caulfield Cup win­ner, was well beaten down the home straight and fin­ished 15th. — AFP

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