Lloyd Williams' tenacity, patience and determination paid off on Tuesday when Green Moon, a strapping son of Montjeu, provided him with his fourth Melbourne Cup, equalling the owner's record for the most Melbourne Cups.
The somewhat reclusive owner who no longer attends race meetings, yet calls the shots at his Mount Macedon racing operation, pours more into the industry than most, and has made winning the Cup a family obsession.
Williams previously purchased his horses from New Zealand, but as the Australian-staying-landscape changed and evolved, he now focuses on up and coming stayers in Europe.
The Irish-bred Green Moon was purchased as a tried racehorse out of England, with the 2012 Melbourne Cup triumph a result of 18 months planning.
Green Moon headed Cup betting after he decisively won the Turnbull Stakes on October 6th yet one below par run in the Cox Plate sent punters into a spin, and he was quickly wound out to double figure odds on the back of that performance and started at 20/1on Tuesday.
The Williams team knew better than to dismiss his chances after the Cox Plate though, ‘God bless everybody who wrote him off,' quipped Nick Williams post-race.
Jockey Brett Prebble was lining up in his tenth Cup. In 2008, he finished third on C'est La Guerre also prepared by Team Williams, and yesterday's victory was just the tonic for the Hong Kong based hoop given he'd knocked back Melbourne Cup rides on Brew (2000), Efficient (2007), Shocking (2009), Dunaden (2011).
It was one of the most open Melbourne Cup's we've seen and despite the burden of weight, punters were happy to stick with the two most previous winners in Dunaden and Americain, while the unseen Mount Athos from the Luca Cumani yard was also well supported.
Favourite backers never gave a yelp though with the top seven in the market failing to finish in the first four. As a result of this, the First4 dividend on the NSW TAB paid a whopping $1.4 million and over $900,000 on the Victorian tote. Well done to anyone who got near that!
Lady Gai kept a relatively low-profile heading into the Cup. Her two runners Fiorente and Glencadam Gold were both outsiders in the market but Tommy Berry dictated terms to a nicety on Glencadam Gold, slowing the tempo and essentially ending the chances of many back markers.
Glencadam Gold stuck on well for sixth while Fiorente ran the race of his life for second, and has already been installed favourite in some early markets for next year's Cup.
Interestingly the first eight home in the Cup were all bred and began their racing careers in Europe, but we can hold on to the fact that despite the doom and gloom predictions, the Cup remains on home soil for another year.
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G1 - Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle
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