Vow And Declare foiled the strong British and Irish challenge to win the Lexus Melbourne Cup in a tight finish at Flemington.
Trained by Danny O’Brien and ridden by Craig Williams, Vow And Declare dug deep in the two-mile prize to fend off the Joseph O’Brien-trained Master Of Reality and Frankie Dettori.
However, following interference in the closing stages, Dettori’s mount was demoted to fourth, with Charlie Fellowes’ Prince Of Arran, owned by Emirati Saeed bel Obaida, promoted to second and Aidan O’Brien’s Il Paradiso, who had his run significantly impeded, boosted to third.
Godolphin’s Cross Counter, the winner in 2018, finished in seventh.
Dettori raced prominently aboard Master Of Reality as his stablemate Twilight Payment set some of the early pace, with Vow And Declare also towards the fore, with Williams taking a position on the rail.
Master Of Reality was first to strike for home at the top of the straight and Dettori stole a couple of lengths advantage, but with a furlong and a half to go, Vow And Declare just edged in front.
However, Dettori’s mount found more for pressure, with Prince Of Arran charging down his outside and Il Paradiso trying to weave his way through between the winner and Master Of Reality.
The trio got tight for space in the shadow of the post, with Master Of Reality drifting across the track and squeezing the Wayne Lordan-ridden Il Paradiso squeezed for room, prompting a stewards’ inquiry and the eventual amended result.
Prince Of Arran finished third last year and Fellowes was delighted with his effort again, after a campaign that also saw him win the Geelong Cup last time.
He told www.racing.com: “I’m incredibly proud of the horse. To do what he has done two years in a row is a remarkable achievement and it’s a remarkable achievement for Tash (Eaton) who looks after him, for all the yard at home, who put in a huge amount of hard work and effort.
“For him to come out here and run as consistently as he does – I don’t think he’s finished outside the first three – is amazing.
“We were close today and I thought for a very brief second we had it. I think he does just hit the front – he’s run brilliant.
“We’ve just been invited to run in the Japan Cup and there’s also a race in Hong Kong, the Vase, that we’ve got in mind, so I just need to have a little think and decide where we go.
“To be honest, all roads lead back here next year – that’s where we want to come.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
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