Verry Elleegant victory at Melbourne Cup

New Zealand-bred horse Verry Elleegant has won the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse, storming home in the final straight to win by three-and-a-half lengths.

Pre-race favourite Incentivise ran second ahead of third-placed Spanish Mission.

The big race that stops two nations - Australia and New Zealand - welcomed back spectators to Flemington after Covid-19 restrictions.

Kiwi Jockey James McDonald was overwhelmed after his first Melbourne Cup victory on the Chris Waller-trained mare, which was rated 14/1 by bookmakers.

"I love her to bits, she's been so good to me," he said.

"I can safely say she is a champion now. She was relaxed the whole way ... I was blowing kisses to her all the way. I just can't believe it.

"I never thought I would win one (Melbourne Cup), I dreamed I'd win one, it's so hard to win. Her fight and determination just takes her so far."

James Mcdonald rides Verry Elleegant to victory at the Melbourne Cup. Photo: Getty Images
James Mcdonald rides Verry Elleegant to victory at the Melbourne Cup. Photo: Getty Images
Australian stayer Incentivise was a 3/1 favourite to claim the gruelling two-mile (3.2km) handicap, having won its last nine starts and after blitzing the field in last month's 2400m Caulfield Cup, a traditional form guide for the Cup.

The Peter Moody-trained gelding held the lead as it rounded the final turn but Verry Elleegant burst into the front with 300m to the post and burned away from the field.

British stayer Spanish Mission was rated second favourite at 9/1.

Only two horses prepared outside Australia and New Zealand were among the 23 that ran at Flemington, where a Covid-capped crowd of 10,000 gathered on a hot, sunny day, a year after Twilight Payment won the race at a closed track.

Rank outsider Future Score, trained by Matt Cumani, was scratched in the morning after vets found lameness in his right foreleg.

There were seven New Zealand-bred horses in the race, but just two New Zealand-trained: The Chosen One and Ocean Billy.



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