The Melbourne Cup remained on Australian soil as Green Moon surprised a high class field to win the $6 million race at Flemington on Tuesday. After an average performance in the Cox Plate, Green Moon bounced back in a big way, courtesy of a lovely ride by jockey Brett Prebble.
It was a triumphant turn of events for local trainer Robert Hickmott, with Gai Waterhouse's new stable addition Fiorente finishing 1.5 lengths behind in second, and intertational raider Jakkalberry close behind in third.
Green Moon's owner Lloyd Williams captured his fourth Melbourne Cup, but was not at the track to see the win.
Prebble, who flew in from Hong Kong for the ride, was full of praise for Williams after the race.
"He puts a lot into racing and he's a very good supporter of mine," Prebble said of Williams.
"He's never here. He's going to be at home enjoying it. It's lovely."
"It's very emotional and it's going to last a long time and the next winner happens."
The three favourites all missed the placings with Dunaden and Americain struggling to carry their top weights, finishing 14th and 11th respectively. Mount Athos came home strongly into 5th place.
The Cup had a very European flavour, with 18 of the 24 horses bred in Europe and only two bred in Australia, one of which finished last (Ethiopia). It seems Australia's most popular horse race is turning to overseas bloodlines to find the very best stayers.
Lloyd Williams, who is a successful breeder in his own right, had a very specific preparation for Green Moon, which was based closely on the successful 2007 campaign of Cup winner Efficient.
Both horses had fairly light campaigns in the Autumn following their successful Spring's the year before (Efficient winning the 2006 Derby and Green Moon running 2nd in the 2011 Caulfield Cup).
Both horses were first up in the Memsie Stakes before running in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes. Both went to the Turnball Stakes at Flemington (which Green Moon won), before both going to the Cox Plate.
Despite Green Moon's seventh, it wasn't a really poor performance. He was caught three wide and didn't really like the going at Moonvee Valley. And if he hadn't of been the short priced favourite, the run wouldn't have been looked at so unfavourably.
But as it was, Green Moon started $20 on Melbourne Cup Day, and despite the hefty competition from all over the world, he shone the brightest!