The horses were racing neck and neck but Dunaden, ridden by Christophe Lemaire and trained by Mikel Delzangles, edged out Red Caedeaux, ridden by Michael Rodd, in a photo finish.

The verdict was the shortest winning distance in 151 runnings of the Melbourne Cup race.

Red Cadeaux trainer Ed Dunlop voiced his disappointment saying: “We don’t like to be second but I’ve come all the way down here for the first so you have to be delighted. If he’s OK, we’ll be back next year.”

Delzangles said: “I’m still shaking. It’s amazing. I thought I was beaten so it’s even better.”

Lemaire sad the win was a highlight of his horse racing career. “Emotionally I think this is the second best moment in my career. The first was winning the Prix de Diane, because all my family were there and I was on a big favourite called Divine Proportions,” he said.

Twitter is abuzz with talk of the Melbourne Cup.

“We exercised a great Aussie custom today: the nation stopped work, had a beer & watched the Melbourne Cup,” said one person.