It was a tale of the O’Brien’s in the 2019 Melbourne Cup at Flemington early on Tuesday morning, but the winner wasn’t a familiar O’Brien to European watchers at all.
While Breeders’ Cup winning trainer Joseph saddled four runners and father Aidan a further three, there was no joy in the end for the Irish connection as Danny O’Brien took the honours courtesy of his Vow And Declare who won by just a head under jockey Craig Williams.
Places Altered by Stewards
As if the thrilling finish wasn’t enough though, the theatrics continued after the race with England’s popular Prince Of Arran being promoted to second from third after race stewards themselves had objected to interference caused by Master Of Reality, ridden by Frankie Dettori, who was subsequently demoted from second to fourth.
The stewards decided that Master Of Reality had interfered with Aidan O’Brien’s Il Paradiso, initially fourth but promoted to third, with the popular Italian left distraught.
The winner however was never in doubt as the enquiries went on, Vow And Declare having always been in the vanguard and getting up on the rail close home, quite a feat having come from stall 21. Winning trainer Danny O’Brien trains at Flemington and is responsible for this Australian-bred 4-year-old, one who has never raced outside of the country, leading to a result celebrated immediately in the Aussie media after successive 1-2-3’s for Britain and Ireland in the last two renewals of the “race that stops a nation.”
Now, with his own country’s biggest race in the bag, Vow And Declare’s owner Geoff Corrigan has his sights set on a trip to Royal Ascot in the future. Although though of as too young at the moment, Corrigan is keen on showing the world that Australian stayers are every bit as good as the likes of Stradivarius, Kew Gardens and Dee Ex Bee meaning a trip to Berkshire could be on the cards in 2021.
Frankie Close to Tears After Demotion
Frankie Dettori, who has swept all before him at home this season, was booked to ride Master Of Reality after his superb third behind Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup and had long been looking forward to what he always thought was a ride full of promise.
But, having initially been oh so narrowly beaten, Dettori was found guilty of careless riding by Racing Victoria stewards who had objected to interference between him and the original fourth, Il Paradiso.
Master Of Reality’s owner Nick Williams was said to be “shattered” for the rider after his demotion and subsequent suspension for nine meetings.
The punishment has already proven to be a little controversial with Dettori’s star presence apparently not appreciated in Australia, while Il Paradiso’s jockey Wayne Lordan refusing to criticise Dettori’s riding and instead claiming that there was nothing wrong with it, despite the stewards feeling strongly enough to change the placings.
The post-race enquiry led to Dettori deciding against fighting the decision and pleading guilty to careless riding, taking a suspension that lasts until November 14.
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Fellowes Proud of Globetrotting Stable Star
Prince Of Arran, who past the post in the third place in the Melbourne Cup for the second year in a row, managed to win the hearts of even more Flemington racegoers this year and it’s something that was made even sweeter for trainer Charlie Fellowes after he was promoted to second place.
The Newmarket handler was understandably hugely proud of his son of Shirocco, beaten just ¼ of a length, with the difference in prize money for his promotion amounting to a cool £607,000.
Despite being beaten just a head and a nose at the line even before the enquiry Prince Of Arran’s trainer did not dwell on what might have been, Fellowes saying he knew the winner would get him and that if anything he was surprised to see he’d finished so close. Pride rightfully beaming from his face, Fellowes can now look forward to even more days in the sunshine with this wonderfully game 6-year-old.