Long live the king.

Forty three years after he trained his first
Melbourne Cup winner, Bart Cummings made it an even dozen when his
unfancied Viewed held off the international challenge to win a
thrilling race by a nose.

The Cups King, 80-years-old and still
loving his job, has no plans of breaking a habit which began when Light
Fingers won the 1965 Cup.

“I do make a habit of winning these,
someone told me. It’s a good habit to get into,” he told the crowd of
107,280 at a sun-soaked Flemington after claiming his 12th Cup and
250th Group One winner.

He tried to remain his laconic self, but his misty eyes suggested he was not so calm underneath those big bushy silver eyebrows.

“It’s my job, you do your best,” he said.

“The whole career has been a joy to be involved in.”

the other end of the spectrum, 21-year-old jockey Blake Shinn tearfully
and respectfully thanked “Mr Cummings” for putting him on the $41 shot
for his first Melbourne Cup victory.

It was the fourth Cup win
for Viewed’s owner, former Malaysian banker Dato Tan Chin Nam, who has
teamed with Cummings in each of his wins but said he was happy with
four and has won “enough”.

“Enough” was a word many of the Cup’s partygoers probably should have used early in the day.

few cans of bourbon and coke at 10am helped some punters deal with the
cool morning, which gave way to a beautifully fine champagne afternoon.

cardigans and pashminas were discarded for bare shoulders in time for
the other major event of the day – Fashions in the Field – from which
winner Kirsty Macgillivray walked away with a car, pearls and watch.

Ms Macgillivray quickly found out, Flemington on Cup Day is about the
haves and have nots, divided by wealth, fame and the ultimate indicator
of status – the barcode.

Even infamy gets you the right sort of
barcode and ensured American gangsta rapper Snoop Dogg was the star
attraction in the Birdcage among the marquee-hopping poseurs, corporate
high-flyers and sporting favourites.

While the tight-lipped Dogg
was out of his comfort zone, Olympians James Tomkins, Steve Hooker,
Grant Hackett and Eamon Sullivan, tennis player Lleyton Hewitt,
cricketer Adam Gilchrist and AFL and rugby league players mixed easily
with former Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins and a host of B and C List
Australian Idol types.

On the other side of the cage, where the
bubbly came in plastic and the bourbon in tins, those early starters
were finishing the day on the lawns red-faced and red-shouldered and
finally calling “enough.”