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From Riff Rocket’s success in the Derby to Without A Fight’s triumphant Melbourne Cup victory and Imperatriz’s world-class win in the Champions Sprint, Flemington’s Melbourne Cup carnival delivered a host of memorable storylines on the track.
Off the track, it was a carnival to remember, with 260,000 spectators enjoying the fine weather over four days of racing.
Racegoers pack the stands at Flemington for the Melbourne Cup.Credit: Getty Images
James McDonald reminded everyone why he’s the country’s premier jockey, winning three group 1s across the week, while Declan Bates’ group 1 double on Pride Of Jenni on consecutive Saturdays deserves all the accolades it gets.
The Melbourne Cup was also fatality free for the third straight year after tighter safety protocols were employed by Racing Victoria and the Victoria Racing Club following the 2020 spring carnival.
It was also Damien Oliver’s final Cup carnival. The champion hoop had three winners across Cup week, including a bold-running ride on Kalapour in the Archer Stakes to help get the horse into the Melbourne Cup.
Ride of the week
Declan Bates, on Pride Of Jenni, to win the Champions Mile. Seven days earlier he led from start to finish to win the Empire Rose. He repeated the dose on Saturday. “He said, ‘I suppose we’ll adopt the same tactics’ and I said I suppose you will,” co-trainer Ciaron Maher said. Bates had won just one group 1 race, back in 2019, before his pair of wins in Cup week.
Roughie of the week
Sheraz, who ran third in the Melbourne Cup at 200-1. “Chris [Waller] and the team came up with the plan just to have him tucked away for as long as possible and once we produced him in the straight he let down with a nice turn of foot and stayed the trip terrifically,” said jockey Beau Mertens.
The fairytale win
The Maggstar, in the greys race on Melbourne Cup day for Ukrainian trainer Tetyana Furdetska, paying $26. “I can’t believe I’m here at Flemington. I dream about Flemington all my life,” said Furdestka, who has trained just 196 starters for eight career winners.
Daniel Stackhouse rides The Maggstar to victory on Cup Day.Credit: Getty Images
Soulcombe, who missed the start, but found the winner’s back, before zigging and zagging in the straight and flashing home late to finish second to Without A Fight in the Melbourne Cup. “Obviously very proud of him putting on a good performance,” jockey Joao Moreira said. “Things didn’t really go his way. Not jumping that well made it a little bit difficult for him, as well as getting into a bit of traffic at the 600, 700 metres also counted against him winning the race but I’m very proud of how he ran.”
Quote of the week
”I thought Without A Fight was the right choice … I crossed the line saying, ‘I told you so, I picked the right horse’.” – Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Mark Zahra, who chose to ride Without A Fight and not last year’s winner Gold Trip.
Mark Zahra has won back-to-back Melbourne Cups.Credit: Getty Images
Horse to follow
Muramasa, winner of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2600 metres on day four of Cup week. That was his third win in a row, and given he’s only had 10 career starts, he looks to have plenty of upside – and is potentially a cups contender next year. “I thought he was going to turn into something one day and hopefully, it is a Melbourne Cup horse,” co-trainer Natalie Young said.
Melbourne Cup week, by the numbers
- 61.7kms worth of races over four days
- 16,500 rose bushes
- 262,165 people through the gates
- $30.16 million in prizemoney
- Zero fatalities
- 20.9 degrees – the average 3pm temperature on each of the four days
Attendances across each of the four days
Derby Day: 73,056
Prizemoney across each of the four days:
Derby Day: $7,000,000
Ron Hutchison Award (3-2-1 for top three finishes for jockeys)
James McDonald: 30 points (four wins, eight seconds, two thirds)
Jamie Kah: 23 points (six wins, two seconds, one third)
Blake Shinn: 22 points (three wins, four seconds, five thirds)
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