Jockey James McDonald choked back tears after sealing a stunning piece of history by winning the 161st Melbourne Cup on Verry Elleegant.
The New Zealand-bred and Aussie-trained mare streaked clear to beat red-hot favourite Incentivise and Spanish Mission in the $8 million race that stops a nation at Flemington on Tuesday.
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Verry Elleegant's stunning victory gave McDonald his first ever win in the Melbourne Cup, as well as Chris Waller - trainer of the legendary, Winx.
Famous for engineering the record-breaking exploits of Winx, Waller claimed his first Melbourne Cup win by beating the shortest-priced favourite since Phar Lap.
Incentivise looked the winner at the top of the straight but he was no match for Verry Elleegant's late surge under McDonald, who fought back tears in an emotional interview after the race.
“It’s what dreams are made of, I can’t honestly believe it,” a teary McDonald said.
“I have so much faith in her, I love her bits.
"She’s trained by a master and she’s a superstar and I’m so proud of her.”
— Channel 10 (@Channel10AU) November 2, 2021
Verry Elleegant became the second heaviest horse to win the Melbourne Cup after Maybe Diva, having carried 57kg into Tuesday's race at Flemington.
Verry Elleegant delivers first Cup for jockey and trainer
The win was all the more sweet for McDonald after the jockey finished second on Fiorente in 2012 and third on Hartnell in 2016.
"When I went for home, I don't know, I don't know what I was thinking. I was thinking, where's that post?" McDonald said.
"She travelled so sweetly in the run for such a big way.
Spanish Mission ran his heart out for England, looming ominously before taking the minor placing.
Floating Artist was the best of the Ciaron Maher-David Eustace runners in finishing fourth with the New Zealand-trained The Chosen One finishing fifth.
Waller now has in his possession one of Australian sport's most prized trophies to go alongside Winx's four Cox Plates.
He has rewritten all the record books on his way to the top but a Melbourne Cup triumph ranks as the sweetest moment since confirming his arrival among the best in the business.
Waller has won the past 11 Sydney trainers' premierships, trained a horse of a lifetime in Winx and is setting standards that only he is likely to match.
The Melbourne Cup was run in front of 10,000 fully-vaccinated racegoers after Victoria's coronavirus restrictions were lifted in time for reduced crowds during the spring carnival.
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