Australian-trained Vow And Declare has held off the international challenge to win the Melbourne Cup, giving jockey Craig Williams his first success in Australia’s greatest race.
One of the most inexperienced horses in the Cup, Vow And Declare defeated Irish stayer Master Of Reality with English-trained Prince Of Arran finishing third.
Williams famously missed the winning ride on the French-trained Dunaden in the 2011 Melbourne Cup because of suspension.
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In a desperate finish involving four horses, the Danny O’Brien-trained Vow And Declare took an inside run and put his head down when it counted to win in a photo finish.
Master Of Reality looked set to give jockey Frankie Dettorie his first win, shooting clear at the 200m before just failing to hold off the winner.
“I have to thank everyone around me that has touched my life throughout my career and given me advice, confidence and they’re all a part of this win,” Williams said.
O’Brien said the race didn’t work out for Vow And Declare.
“It wasn’t a race that was going to plan … but he’s a great horse, he’s got great stamina,” O’Brien said.
Il Paradiso was fourth across the line and protested against the runner-up for interference late in the race.
Williams has now completed the grand slam of Australian racing after winning the Golden Slipper, Cox Plate and Caulfield during a decorated career.
© AAP 2019