Lloyd beat us again.
Almandin has given owner Lloyd Williams a record fifth Melbourne Cup, the race closest to the retired businessman’s heart.
“I’m a proud Melburnian and I can’t tell you how touched I am to be winning this race today,” Williams said.
Williams had not been at Flemington for a Melbourne Cup in 20 years and did not plan to be trackside for the race that made him the most successful owner of Cup winners.
But he came off the interchange bench, as the 76-year-old put it, when his son Nick ended up in hospital on Monday with a dislocated knee.
Not that Nick was going to miss watching the Williams team’s four Cup contenders either. He hobbled to the track on crutches.
They won with a horse that broke down with a tendon injury soon after the family bought him from Germany in 2014, being rehabilitated at the Williams’ Macedon Lodge before making his local debut for trainer Robert Hickmott in June this year.
“It’s quite emotional about this one,” Williams said.
“The boys at Macedon have done a fabulous job with getting this horse back.”
It was a dream come true for jockey Kerrin McEvoy, 16 years after he won the 2000 Cup as an apprentice on Brew.
“Lloyd, he knows what to do in these staying races.
“It’s just a dream. It’s great to be part of it again for my second Cup.”
The Melbourne Cup has also been a life-long dream for Williams.
“All I can remember from at least five years of age is listening to the Melbourne Cup,” he said.
“It’s always been a part of my life.”
Almandin overcame a potent international challenge to beat the Irish stayer Heartbreak City with favourite Hartnell taking the minor placing.
Heartbreak City’s New York-based Irish owners were far from heartbroken.
“We’re not going to cry,” Aidan Shiels said.
“By God we’re not going to cry. We’re delighted with that run.”
But Darren Dance, whose Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock recently acquired a major share in the Irish horse, was lamenting another Lloyd Williams victory.
“Bloody Lloyd. He beat us again,” Dance said.
Not that Dance will let that put him off a future Cup attempt.
“Just to get a horse in the race is like climbing Mount Everest and then you look up and you see the peak.
“It’s a privilege to have a runner.”
After winning with Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2007), Green Moon (2012) and now Almandin, Williams is wondering if he will live long enough to beat legendary trainer Bart Cummings’ record 12 Cup victories.
“My major problem now is that, at 76, is it possible for me to catch Bart?
‘If you’re having this press conference with me and I’m 98, it will be an interesting task.”
The Williams readily admit they are a superstitious family, and their latest Cup win on Williams’ return to Flemington after a 20-year absence has not gone unnoticed.
“I’m sad I haven’t been here before to be honest,” he said.
If Nick Williams has his way, his dad will be at Flemington each time the family has a Melbourne Cup runner.
“It was fantastic. He should be here all the time and he will be now, whether he likes it or not.
“Once something’s lucky it doesn’t get changed. I dare say I’ll be sitting in the Bahamas or something watching the next one and dad will be here making the speeches.”
It was the first Melbourne Cup crowd at Flemington under 100,000 people since 2004 and the lowest since 2001 when the crowd was about 92,500.