The ‘race that stops a nation’ brought the crowd at Flemington Racecourse and millions around Australia to a standstill this afternoon with the Melbourne Cup 2015 won by outside hope Prince Of Penzance in a historical result with the Darren Weir-trained stayer ridden by the first ever Melbourne Cup winning female jockey Michelle Payne.
Swooping late after jumping from the inside alley, the $101 roughie flew home to defeat the Irish-trained raider Max Dynamite ($14) with the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Cox Plate runner-up Criterion ($19) finishing off the Melbourne Cup trifecta in third.
New Zealand-bred horses continued their dominance in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), six-year-old Pentire gelding Prince Of Penzance the 42nd Kiwi-bred winner of the two mile classic.
Not having won a race in over 12 months, Prince Of Penzance broke the drought in the most incredible fashion on the back of a Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) second becoming one of the longest priced Melbourne Cup winners in history.
Three 100-1 horses had saluted many years previously, but no one could have predicted Prince Of Penzance would win at his long Melbourne Cup odds in 2015 against a red hot field that included 11 international visitors.
A bunched field after the jump was quickly led early by Big Orange, the Goodwood Cup winner moving up to lead this year’s Melbourne Cup line-up around the famous Flemington track.
It was a slow pace initially with Gai Waterhouse’s Lexus Stakes winner Excess Knowledge settled second while second pick in the markets Trip To Paris was getting a nice run in fourth just ahead of Criterion.
The red-hot Japanese-trained favourite Fame Game meanwhile went right back to about third or fourth last in running and had lots of ground to make up.
Big Orange retained the lead right to the home turn, Criterion getting the gun trail settled fifth.
Once on the straight the runs were coming from the likes of Our Ivanhowe on the inside and Trip To Paris, who Payne quickly got on the back of and followed through.
Displaying a devastating turn of foot, Prince Of Penzance quickly got off the back of Ed Dunlop’s Ascot Gold Cup winner and flew home right through the line to score the upset Melbourne Cup result.
In his maiden run down under after winning the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3300m) at York in August last time out, the William Mullins-trained Max Dynamite ran a brave second in the Melbourne Cup ahead of Lindsay Park’s always-honest Sebring stallion Criterion.
It was an historical Melbourne Cup win by Payne, the first ever female jockey to salute, who was quietly confident she was aboard a genuine hope to cap off an incredible return to glory after suffering spinal fractures earlier in her career.
“Unbelievable,” she exclaimed post-win.
“It’s like a dream come true.
“This horse is awesome, what he’s been through, and Weir is an unbelievable trainer to get him here.
“They got this horse in the best shape he could be in and I’m just so thankful.”
Prince Of Penzance was also sidelined with injury for nearly 14 months earlier in his career, but had had a solid campaign this time in heading into the race.
“When I won on this horse as a three-year-old I thought ‘This is a Melbourne Cup horse’,” Payne added.
“Far out! I knew he’d be strong but I didn’t think he’d be that strong.
“He was towing me into the straight and when he let go, he just burst to the front and he was powering through the line.”
Payne’s only other Melbourne Cup ride was aboard a Bart Cummings-trained galloper, but she showed her lovely affinity with Weir’s upset champion in 2015 continuing her association with Prince Of Penzance who she has now ridden for 23 of his 24 career starts.
Weir had saddled-up four previous Melbourne Cup runners finishing second once before, and only really rated Prince Of Penzance a top 10 hope at best today.
“An unbelievable feeling,” he said.
“He got a beautiful run through them. What an absolute thrill.
“I thought the horse was in great shape and there wouldn’t be many horses that had a better preparation than him.
“We’d done everything possible.
“I thought we were realistically a top 10 chance.”
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2015 Melbourne Cup Results & Finishing Order
Flemington Race 7 – 03/11/2015
|1||19||PRINCE OF PENZANCE (NZ)||Darren Weir||Ms Michelle Payne||–||1||53kg||$101|
|2||8||MAX DYNAMITE (FR)||William Mullins||Frankie Dettori||0.5L||2||55kg||$13|
|3||2||CRITERION (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||1.25L||4||57.5kg||$19|
|4||10||TRIP TO PARIS (IRE)||Ed Dunlop||Tommy Berry||2L||14||55kg||$6|
|5||5||BIG ORANGE (GB)||Michael Bell||Jamie Spencer||2.4L||23||55.5kg||$61|
|6||24||GUST OF WIND (NZ)||John Sargent||Chad Schofield||2.6L||19||51kg||$41|
|7||23||EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (GB)||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||3.1L||24||51kg||$31|
|8||13||THE OFFER (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||Damien Oliver||3.3L||13||54kg||$31|
|9||16||QUEST FOR MORE (IRE)||Roger Charlton||Damian Lane||3.8L||21||53.5kg||$81|
|10||4||OUR IVANHOWE (GER)||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Ben Melham||3.9L||22||56kg||$21|
|11||11||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||4L||6||54.5kg||$21|
|12||21||SERTORIUS||Jamie Edwards||Craig Newitt||4.75L||5||52.5kg||$101|
|13||3||FAME GAME (JPN)||Yoshitada Munakata||Zac Purton||5.5L||12||57kg||$5F|
|14||22||THE UNITED STATES (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Joao Moreira||5.7L||3||52.5kg (inc. 2.5kg penalty)||$21|
|15||6||HARTNELL (GB)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||5.9L||17||55.5kg||$31|
|16||20||BONDI BEACH (IRE)||Aidan O’Brien||Brett Prebble||6.2L||18||52.5kg||$21|
|17||7||HOKKO BRAVE (JPN)||Yasutoshi Matsunaga||Craig Williams||6.4L||20||55.5kg||$41|
|18||17||ALMOONQITH (USA)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Dwayne Dunn||6.9L||10||53kg (inc. 1.0kg penalty)||$17|
|19||18||KINGFISHER (IRE)||Aidan O’Brien||Colm O’Donoghue||7L||9||53kg||$61|
|20||15||PREFERMENT (NZ)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||14L||11||53.5kg||$9|
|21||14||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||14.75L||15||53.5kg||$61|
|22||12||SKY HUNTER (GB)||Saeed Bin Suroor||William Buick||16L||7||54kg||$31|
|23||1||SNOW SKY (GB)||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore||18.25L||16||58kg||$51|
|FF||9||RED CADEAUX (GB)||Ed Dunlop||Gerald Mosse||–||8||55kg||$26|