Protectionist wins Melbourne Cup, favourite dies
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - German raider Protectionist timed his finishing burst to perfection to win the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, but the race was overshadowed by the death of two horses including favourite Admire Rakti, who collapsed and died after finishing last.
Araldo, who finished seventh in the A$6.2 million ($5.38 million) race, was later euthanised after injuring its hind leg in a freak accident after the race.
The deaths at the "race that stops a nation" are sure to reignite the debate over the welfare of horses in the sport.
With another bumper crowd packed into Flemington Racecourse, Protectionist was boxed in for much of the gruelling 3,200 metre handicap but stormed down the final straight to win by four lengths, giving Germany its first winner in 154 runnings of the Cup.
"He's very easy," English jockey Ryan Moore said of the 7-1 shot in a trackside interview. "Very good horse with very strong pace. Once he got the space, he's amazing."
Protectionist's success was the third for a European horse in the last five years after Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) and will not ease concerns among local trainers about "foreign" raids on Australia's top silverware.
English nine-year-old Red Cadeaux (20-1) was second for the third time in Australia's most famous race after 2011 and 2013, while New Zealand-trained Who Shot Thebarman (16-1) came in third.
Irish mare My Ambivalent had overhauled Admire Rakti over the first few hundred yards and set the pace for much of the race before Red Cadeaux took the lead coming off the final bend.
Protectionist had found its way through the field by now, though, and once the five-year-old stallion hit the front he was never going to be caught. Continued...