Another truly international version of 'the race that stops a nation' delivered a thrilling finish where the first five across the line were bred overseas, confirming the recent shift in the Australian classic where foreign raiders and hand picked European purchases have proven their mettle versus their Australasian rivals. The Irish bred Fiorente, second in last year's renewal to Green Moon (IRE), gave Australia's first lady of racing Gai Waterhouse her maiden Melbourne Cup win as a trainer and embattled jockey Damien Oliver his third triumph in the two-mile classic.
Fiorente (IRE) broke well from barrier 5, and was tucked in only two paths off of the rail about mid-field in the first trip down the historic Flemington stretch with many of the more outside drawn contenders gunning for position and settling down towards the front end. Ruscello (IRE) led up the 24 horse field after starting from the widest gate, with Waterhouse's other entrant Tres Blue (IRE) and British invader Brown Panther both following closely behind in second and third through the first six furlongs. Mount Athos (IRE), the eventual third place finisher, found himself in fourth position down the back stretch and made an early inside bid around the turn while the eventual winner and second place finisher Red Cadeaux (GB) came a bit wide and hooked up with around a furlong-and-a-half to go. Fiorente gained the upper hand of the duel around the 1/16th pole and finished well for a comfortable 3/4 length victory. Outsider Simenon (IRE) finished fourth, with the globetrotting Dandino (GB) rounding out the top five placings.
The five-year-old (Northern Hemisphere) Monsun (IRE) entire (formerly trained by Sir Michael Stoute), was purchased as an Australian Cups contender after his 2012 British campaign and had progressed nicely in his second preparation down under, winning the Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes (GII) at Moonee Valley in impressive fashion under former jockey and Waterhouse favorite Nash Rawiller. After a less than impressive run in the Turnbull Stakes (GI), Damien Oliver was given the mount for the Melbourne Cup (with Blake Shinn serving as replacement in his third-place finish in the Oct. 26th Cox Plate (GI)) and rewarded punters behind the late betting move into Australian favoritism pre-race (5/1 in North America), giving the controversial Oliver, who had endured a betting scandal earlier in the season, a trifecta of Melbourne Cups for his trophy case, adding to prior triumphs aboard Doriemus (1995) and Media Puzzle (2002).
The Melbourne Cup Carnival continues with the $1,000,000 Crown Oaks (GI) on Wednesday, November 6th (U.S. Time), with the grand finale being the Emirates Stakes (GI) on Friday, November 8th.
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