Lloyd Williams has become the most successful owner of Melbourne Cup winners with Almandin claiming Australia’s greatest horse race.
Almandin overcame a potent international challenge to beat the Irish stayer Heartbreak City with Hartnell taking the minor placing.
One of Australia’s most successful businessmen, Williams has now figured in the ownership of five Melbourne Cup winners while jockey Kerrin McEvoy has ridden his second winner of the race.
Almandin started a well-supported $11 chance and sat midfield before joining a charge of horses at the home.
Hartnell surged to the front only to be challenged by Almandin with Heartbreak City making his run between the pair.
Heartbreak City ($19) went clear and seemed certain to hold on before Almandin raised one more effort to claim victory on the line by a long head.
Hartnell, the $5.50 favourite, couldn’t match the quinella pair but ran bravely to finish third, 4-1/4 lengths further back.
McEvoy, who won the 2000 Cup as an apprentice on Brew, said Almandin was always travelling like a winner.
The jockey paid tribute to Williams and his team, headed by trainer Robert Hickmott.
“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,” McEvoy said.
After Hartnell, Qewy was next best of the Godolphin runners in claiming fourth with Who Shot Thebarman winding up fifth.
Rank outsider Rose Of Virginia was last of the 24 runners.
Williams won his first Melbourne Cup when Just A Dash saluted in 1981 but says this year’s triumph means more than most.
He said it was his first day at a Melbourne Cup for 20 years and he hadn’t been trackside to watch one of his horses win since What A Nuisance scored in 1985.
“This horse (Almandin) had a tendon and he was broken down so I’m quite emotional about this one,” he said.
“The boys at Macedon (Lodge) have done a fabulous job getting this horse back.”
Jameka, the only Australian-bred horse in the race, failed in her bid to complete the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double.
She came home 15th as the $8.50 second favourite.