5 Nov 2013

Favourite Fiorente wins Melbourne Cup

9:04 pm on 5 November 2013

The favourite Fiorente has delivered Australia's first lady of racing Gai Waterhouse her first Melbourne Cup victory.

The horse, ridden by Damien Oliver, came from behind to pip Red Cadeaux on Tuesday. Mount Athos was third.

Ms Waterhouse, who has followed in the training footsteps of her legendary father Tommy Smith, was ecstatic about the win.

"I love racing and I love people being involved with it. And no one does it better than the VRC promoting the Melbourne Cup - and what a fabulous race. It's a race that stops a nation. Isn't it nice to have a favourite that can do that?"

The Irish-bred stallion lived up to his reputation as the race's clear favourite to deliver Ms Waterhouse the win she craved above all others, the ABC reports.

They Sydney trainer praised her jockey after the race, saying it was a great ride and that the win is a dream come true.

Oliver's triumph adds to his wins in 1995 and 2002. Fiorente came off the final turn strongly to take the lead coming down the straight and held off Red Cadeaux by just under a length.

It is also two months since Oliver returned to racing after serving a ban for betting on a rival horse in a race he was riding in back in 2010.

The 24-horse field was one of the strongest in recent memory. Previous winners Dunaden and Green Moon finished well down the field, while a broken leg forced French mare Verema to be put down after the race.

New betting record in NZ

In New Zealand, the TAB says a new record has been set on betting on the Melbourne Cup. It says $9.3 million was spent, up 1% on last year.

The TAB is paying $7 for every dollar bet on winner Fiorente, while the trifecta is $4,040.40.

The absence of a locally-trained horse in the field didn't dent the three main race meetings in New Zealand at Ellerslie in Auckland, Otaki on the Kapiti coast and Wingatui in Dunedin, which keep growing.

Chief executive of the Otago Racing Club Andre Klein says ticket sales were 30% up and expected at least 8000 people at Wingatui.

Although there were no New Zealand-bred horses in the the 153rd running of the great race, this country can still boast an expatriate connection, with two Australia-based jockeys and two trainers having runners.

The only thing missing was the man who has won the race more times than anyone else - Bart Cummings - whose gelding Precedence failed by one spot to get into the field and give him the chance for a 13th Melbourne Cup.