A home-grown horse that no-one wanted and was given away to friends and family has upstaged international rivals to take out the greatest prize in Australian racing.
Jockey Craig Williams upstaged the international competition on the back of the Australian gelding Vow and Declare to win the $4.4million Melbourne Cup on Flemington’s hallowed turf.
Millions of people across Australia were watching as the $12 runner surged through on the final straight to beat Master of Reality, Prince of Arran and Il Paradiso for trainer Danny O’Brien.
Vow and Declare has won the Melbourne Cup by a nose to upstage the international competition and claim victory in Australia’s greatest race
Williams dedicated the win to those who had trained his winning horse back in stables.
‘I don’t want to name everyone in the stable but with all their hard work, we love this horse,’ he said.
MELBOURNE CUP RESULTS
1. Vow and Declare
2. Master of Reality
3. Prince of Arran
4. II Paradiso
‘Thank you very much guys. It was a privilege to ride him today. We had a difficult barrier draw.’
For Williams the win means he has completed the ‘Grad Slam’ of Australia’s big races, having already bagged a Caulfield Cup, Golden Slipper and Cox Plate.
It was his 16th ride in the Melbourne Cup, with his previous best result a third on Mount Athos in 2013.
Vow and Declare had been considered one of Australia’s best hopes of a Cup win.
A Noosa-bred thoroughbred, Vow and Declare was bought by the nephew of the horse’s breeder Paul Lanskey – who had failed to find a buyer wanting to stump up the $60,000 reserve at the 2017 Inglis Classic Sale.
At least 120,000 more spectators piled into the racecourse, with glamorous women wearing high heels and hats charging in early to secure the best view of the track.
It didn’t take long for the drinks to start flowing, with punters seen quaffing Champagne and knocking back beers mere moments after the gates opened at 9am.
Excited fans were making the most of the sunshine with picnics on the grass while one couple was pictured enjoying a passionate embrace.
Millions of people across Australia were watching as the $12 runner (pictured, number 23 on the inside) surged through on the final straight to beat Master of Reality, Prince of Arran and Il Paradiso for trainer Danny O’Brien
Love is in the air! A young couple embraced and shared a kiss as inside Flemington Racecourse as they geared up for the big race
Selfie time! Two young women in summery frocks took pictures while a man dressed in pink checked his phone
The day got off to a hectic start as eager punters pushed their way through the gates in the hope of securing the best spot to view the track.
One in a fluorescent dress and golden sparkly trainers looked particularly determined as she sprinted past the turnstiles.
The ladies were accompanied by dapper men in suits and ties, some carrying newspapers, others bearing cooler bags filled to the brim with snacks and supplies for the day’s revelry.
The early bird catches the worm: One woman was extremely determined to get the best seat in the house as she ran through the barriers at around 9am
Glitz and glamour! Women in high heels and hats were among the keen racing fans who ran to secure the best view of the track
Fully loaded: Dapper men in suits and ties were seen bearing cooler bags filled to the brim with snacks and supplies for the day’s revelry
Stretching the legs: Women and men run through Flemington racecourse as excitement builds ahead of the Melbourne Cup
Checking the odds! One racegoer dressed in a navy blue suit was seen carrying a newspaper as he entered the course
The race before the race! Men and women sprinted along the cobbles as they entered the racecourse ahead of the Melbourne Cup
Determination: One woman in a red and grey dress was resolutely focused on running to the stands ahead of the race
The race is on! A group of men in suits and sunglasses jogged towards the stands and they scrambled for the best view
Running wild: One punter in a very bright blue suit flew past the entrance with a glamorous blonde woman behind him
Left: Two racegoers opted for very colourful outfits. Right: Punters took the train to get to Flemington Racecourse
Open the gates! A group of men in suits were among the first let into the racecourse as stewards prepared to check their tickets
The calm before the scramble: Race-goers wait for the turnstiles to officially open so they can run to get the best view
Celebrities were also in attendance, including Princess Diana’s niece Lady Kitty Spencer, Nadia Bartel and Carrie Bickmore.
Among the pink carpet arrivals was The Block’s Elyse Knowles, who revealed a generous glimpse of cleavage in a plunging leopard-print dress.
The model oozed style, completing her slinky look with a black wide-brimmed hatinator, micro handbag and black pointy-toed heels.
Despite the stress of her recent split from husband Jimmy Bartel, Nadia put on a jubilant display as she beamed and posed beneath her bright yellow sunhat.
Also sporting the sunny hue was pregnant Jesinta Franklin, whose slinky yellow gown showcased her burgeoning belly.
Also in attendance was former Bachelorette and Ten presenter Georgia Love, who took a sartorial risk in a striking fuschia frock.
The Bachelorette’s Georgia Love (left) turned heads in a shiny pink frock as she led he celebrity arrivals at The Melbourne Cup 2019 in Flemington on Tuesday. Right: The Loop host Liv Phyland
Peppermint delight! Bright colours appear to be the trend du jour, with beauty Britt Davis (left) sporting a vibrant peppermint hue on the ruby pile. Right: Former Bachelor Tim Robards
Kicking back Down Under! Fresh from her hosting duties on The Masked Singer Australia, Lindsay Lohan (left) was all too happy to party the day away at the races . Jesinta Franklin (right) showed off her baby bump on the pink carpet
Jimmy who? Nadia Bartel had wore a bold and bright yellow outfit – and looked like she didn’t have a care in the world
Unusual: McLeod’s Daughters star Doris Younane (left) chose to wear an unusual visor-inspired head-covering. Right: Elyse Knowles turned heads in a plunging leopard-print frock