Germany won the 154th Melbourne Cup through Protectionist but the race will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
The outstanding win for the five-year-old will be marred in the history books by the unfortunate death of pre-race favourite Admire Rakti, who died in his stalls after finishing last.
Protectionist cruised to victory by three lengths with English jockey Ryan Moore aboard and delivering an inch-perfect ride.
Red Cadeaux hit the straight in the lead but could manage only second (for the third time in the race) while Who Shot Thebarman was third and Signoff fourth.
Protectionist was making just his 10th start and was among the least raced horses to claim victory in the race.
He seemed to be effected by heavy winds before the start but was an old pro by the end and the only horse to show improvement in the closing furlong.
Humble Moore said the win was “a pretty good feeling” after adding the Cup to his Cox Plate.
Trainer Andreas Wohler said a party was imminent.
Admire Radki was favourite coming into the race but carrying a hefty 58.5kg – he looked fine coming into the last 800m but was swamped by the field.
Twenty minutes after the race the remarkable stayer was no more.
“It’s a shame. We had such a nice, clean-run Melbourne Cup,” said chief steward Terry Bailey.
Predictably, spokesman for the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, Ward Young, was outraged.
“We are distraught to learn of another horse dying at the Melbourne Cup,” Ward said. “These events are more common then we would like to believe.”
Another near tragedy also marred the race, with seventh-placed Araldo being spooked by the massive crowd and fracturing a cannon bone. He will have screws inserted in his leg.
Image via Getty