'What a race': Twilight Payment wins the 2020 Melbourne Cup

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Jye McNeil celebrates after winning the Melbourne Cup with Twilight Payment. Image: Getty
Jye McNeil celebrates after winning the Melbourne Cup with Twilight Payment. Image: Getty

Twilight Payment has won the 2020 Melbourne Cup in a dramatic finish at Flemington.

In sharp contrast to previous years, Twilight Payment crossed the line in front of an eerily quiet race track with a crowd ban in place due to the coronavirus.

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Storming home in a close finish, trainer Joseph O'Brien’s horse - paying $27.20 for the win - beat his father’s horse Tiger Moth and the English-trained Prince Of Arran to claim the $8 million race.

The younger O'Brien won his first Melbourne Cup in 2017 when Rekindling beat Johannes Vermeer, trained by his father.

Owner Lloyd Williams won his seventh title at the Race that Stops a Nation.

Melbourne Cup run against backdrop of silence

Despite the familiarity about the result for Williams, it was a Melbourne Cup like no other.

For the first time in its rich history, the race was run against a backdrop of silence.

As Melbourne's pandemic restrictions remained in place, Flemington numbers were restricted to trainers, jockeys and key personnel.

Jockey Jye McNeil rode a heady race from the front after taking Twilight Payment to the lead as the field passed the winning post the first time.

He increased the pace from the 1000m and sent his mount out to a clear advantage as the field swung into the straight.

From there, McNeil said he was confident Twilight Payment could keep the momentum going despite Tiger Moth and Prince Of Arran closing hard.

"I was confident. I was trying not to use the whip too many times," McNeil, a winner in his maiden Cup ride, said.

"And also I was trying to use my voice to encourage him as much as possible.

"It was a matter of hanging on, and he was very tough.

"To be able to get the opportunity from the Williams family to partner Twilight Payment today - not only them, but also Joseph O'Brien, who's done a fantastic job preparing him.

"Yeah, it's very overwhelming."

The Cup will rank as another near miss for Aidan O'Brien, a defeat made even more agonising after his stable's English Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck broke down and was euthanised after the race.

with AAP

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