Punter misses million-to-one bet by half a length

A punter from the Sunshine Coast has endured an agonising Melbourne Cup before watching his $1 million chance fall half a length short of victory.

Michael Poole was this week offered the opportunity of a lifetime in a promotion from a bookmaker, to place a $1 bet at odds of one million to one.

The 34-year-old studied the form guide before putting his gold coin on Irish stayer Johannes Vermeer.

All the stress and excitement of his week came to a head at 3pm on Tuesday when Johannes Vermeer departed the gates in the $3.6 million race.

HIT THE JACKPOT: How lucky customer won $1m on Rekindling

IRISH LUCK: Rekindling fires to win $3.6 Melbourne Cup

SCARY SCENES: Melbourne Cup rocked by frightening fall

Johannes Vermeer gets pipped at the post. Pic: Getty

But soon his excitement turned to despair as Irish import Rekindling pipped Johannes Vermeer at the post after a long battle down the straight.

After not sleeping since making the massive bet, Poole may well have a few more tormented nights following his horse's agonising finish.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Johannes Vermeer, who is raced by a group including prominent Australian owner Lloyd Williams, produced two eye-catching spring carnival runs in Melbourne without getting a major prize.

His fast-finishing second with Katelyn Mallyon aboard in the Group One Caulfield Stakes (2000m) was followed up by a luckless third under Melham in the $3 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) a week later.