GOLD TRIP won a dramatic Melbourne Cup after a vandal broke onto the course and sprayed 1000 litres of ‘oily sludge’.
Trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and jockey Mark Zahra – whose first experience of Melbourne Cup day was breaking his arm and leg in the race before on his first visit to Flemington – landed the £2.5million cheque.
The 20-1 shot, tipped up by Sun Racing columnist Matt Chapman, won by a comfortable two lengths from 25-1 Emissary and 40-1 High Emocean in third.
British raider and 17-5 favourite Deauville Legend for trainer James Ferguson finished a respectable fourth, picking up £188,000.
But ‘the race that stops a nation’ was thrown into chaos just hours before when an unknown so-called activist was filmed vandalising the course.
Local reports claimed 1000 litres of a black substance were dumped onto the turf about a mile from the finish post.
Clearly no thought was given to the safety of the horses and jockeys, who later thundered over the turf at close to 40mph.
Police are investigating and a Racing Victoria statement read: “RV Stewards have assessed the Flemington track following notification of some damage to the surface at the 1500m mark.
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“Remedial work has been undertaken by VRC track staff.
“The track has been deemed safe for racing by RV Stewards with no impact on the conduct of today’s meeting.”
Fortunately the idiot’s efforts ultimately had no impact on the huge day thanks to the heroic efforts of ground staff.
The win was sweet redemption for 40-year-old Zahra, who was denied a ride on last year’s winner Verry Elleegant due to suspension.
And in a brilliant but X-rated interview afterwards he explained just how much victory meant to him.
Asked what was going through his mind in the closing stages as he charged home on the top weight, the jockey said: “(I was thinking) just p**s off, no one come near me!
“I feel like crying. It’s unbelievable. What a day.
“He’s a horse that when you go, you don’t give him a chance to think about it.
“It’s just elation when I crossed the line. What an amazing feeling.”
Eustace, who grew up at his dad James’ Newmarket yard and learned his trade with top English trainer Roger Varian, said: “I can’t believe it. Obviously a bit overcome.
“Yeah, it’s obviously a dream that we all want to achieve.”
There was no such joy for shock 150-1 Epsom Derby runner-up Hoo Ya Mal, who finished 12th after being sent off at 12-1.
Melbourne Cup result
1st Gold Trip 20-1
2nd Emissary 25-1
3rd High Emocean 40-1
4th Deauville Legend 17-5
5th Realm Of Flowers 7-1
6th Daqiansweet Junior 60-1
7th Smokin’ Romans 16-1
8th Stockman 15-1
9th Knights Order 17-1
10th Vow And Declare 20-1
11th Arapaho 60-1
12th Hoo Ya Mal 12-1
13th Without A Fight 11-1
14th Grand Promenade 70-1
15th Young Werther 30-1
16th Montefilia 17-2
17th Tralee Rose 50-1
18th Duais 20-1
19th Numerian 60-1
20th Serpentine 30-1
21st Camorra 40-1
Pulled up Interpretation 50-1
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