Highly touted international stayer Sea Moon finally broke through for a win in Australia, but minutes later had it taken away in a protest, with another international, Araldo, being named the winner.
Sea Moon grinded it out with Araldo and Gotta Take Care in the home straight and was first past the post in the 2500m Bart Cummings by a mere nose. But Araldo's jockey Glen Boss lodged a protest, claiming the original winner had laid in and blocked his run.
"There was contact there virtually for the last 100 metres", Boss said in the stewards room after the race.
"It's cost me more than the nose I was beaten".
Sea Moon jockey Brett Prebble believed his horse had it covered and that Araldo affected his own chances.
"I was always going to beat him to the line, even though I did get close to him".
But the protest was upheld with the stewards believing the 'slender margin' made any impact costly to Boss's horse.
The decision meant Sea Moon is still not qualified for Caulfield Cup. A win would have seen him pass the ballot clause, but now remains 59th in the order of entry.
He is now a $26 chance in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
Araldo is a $51 chance for the Caulfield Cup and a $101 outsider in the Melbourne Cup. His long odds for the first Tuesday in November are due to the fact he's 74th in the order of entry, and will need to get a weight penalty to qualify.
"First thoughts are we'll probably end up in the Geelong Cup and then as a last-ditched effort we might end up in the Lexus Stakes," Araldo's trainer Mick Moroney said.
Fiorente and Puissance De Lune hold equal favouritism for the Melbourne Cup.