Almandin wins Melbourne Cup in tight finish
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Almandin stormed down the straight to beat Heartbreak City by a long head in the 156th Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, giving owner Lloyd Williams a record fifth win in Australia's richest race and jockey Kerrin McEvoy his second victory in the 2-mile classic.
McEvoy won his previous Melbourne Cup on Brew in 2000, giving him the mark for longest gap between Cup titles for a jockey.
Australian businessman Williams is the first owner to win more than four Melbourne Cups.
''Lloyd, he knows what to do in these staying races. It's just a dream,'' McEvoy said. ''It's great to be part of it again for my second Cup.''
McEvoy's wife Cathy is the sister of Michelle Payne, who rode Prince of Penzance to victory here last year, becoming the first female jockey to win the race.
Pre-race favorite Hartnell was 4-1/4 lengths back in third place, extending the drought for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Godolphin racing enterprise, which first entered the southern hemisphere's premier race in 1998 but is yet to win.
Williams had four starters in the race and Godolphin had five, including fourth-place finisher Qewy.
Williams, who won his first Melbourne Cup with Just A Dash in 1981, said the fact that Almandin had been out for a long spell with a tendon problem made it a more significant triumph.
''This horse had a tendon and he was broken down, so I'm quite emotional about this one,'' he said, adding that trainer Robert Hickmott and the racing team ''have done a fabulous job getting this horse back.''
Hickmott ''has been with me for probably 15 years now. There is no better person as an employee of a racing stable,'' Williams said. ''I'm a very, very difficult boss, I have to tell you. So he's gone through thick and thin with me. He's got this result today - I congratulate him.''
Almandin is a seven-year-old German-bred gelding, sired by the late Monsun, who also sired the winners of the race in 2013 and 2014.
Godolphin has had three runners-up finishers and now two third places at the Melbourne Cup. Hartnell was in good position to break the drought rounding into the final turn before Almandin and the Ireland-based Heartbreak City surged late.
''To come here and finish third and fourth is a great achievement,'' Godolphin racing manager John Ferguson said. ''I'm absolutely delighted with the way the team has operated and, most importantly, we'll keep trying.''