Almandin prevails in Melbourne Cup thriller

After a hugely successful Spring Racing Carnival in Australia, Team Godolphin had to settle for third and fourth in the Melbourne Cup as Almandin landed a race for the ages. Sam Price reports


On 1 November, the “race that stops a nation” served up a finish to savour as Almandin edged out Heartbreak City by a head to win the 156th running of the Melbourne Cup.

After a furious early gallop, the two six-year-olds pulled clear of the rest of the field in the home straight to engage in a thrilling neck-and-neck duel, with Almandin, ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, just getting the better of Joao Moreira and the aptly-named runner-up.

An injury-prone horse who had only raced 11 times before his crowning glory at Flemington, Almandin had been given a classic Cup preparation by his trainer Robert Hickmott, while owner Lloyd Williams was celebrating a record fifth win in the world’s richest handicap.

Faring best of the Godolphin-owned quintet in a highly respectable third and fourth were Hartnell and Qewy, while Beautiful Romance also picked up her share of the prize money with a fine run in seventh.

While the Melbourne Cup remains elusive for Team Godolphin, chief executive and racing manager John Ferguson reflected on a fine effort from everyone involved in preparing the horses for the race, which came off the back of an extremely fruitful Spring Racing Carnival.

“At the end of the day to come here and finish third and fourth is a great achievement,” Ferguson said.

“I’m absolutely delighted with the way the team has operated and, most importantly, we’ll keep trying.”

British trainer Charlie Appleby also took great satisfaction from the run of Qewy, who scooped the Geelong Cup in October and more than trebled his lifetime earnings with those two runs.

“Qewy’s gone and run the race of his life,” said Appleby.

“We came here without even being in the race, we won our way into the Melbourne Cup and we’ve done well. We’ve also learned a lot and we’ll be back with a bigger team next year.”