The 2022 Melbourne Cup has been run, with Gold Trip taking out the victory while Kiwi trainer Mike Moroney also impressed as Emissary finished runner-up.
There were also a few disappointments though, so foxsports.com.au has run the rule over the studs, duds and pass marks from Tuesday’s race.
FULL FINISHING ORDER: Where your horse finished
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GOLD TRIP – 1st
Incredible staying performance from a former European who showed all the class his connections saw in importing him. Was brought out for the Cox Plate last year but was controversially ordered to be scratched by official vets. No matter. Wait a year and he comes an outstanding second in the Caulfield Cup, then wins the really big one. For all his reputation, based mainly on his fourth in the Prix de l’Arc De Triomphe two years back, he had still only won one of his 14 starts, and hadn’t raced beyond 2400m. All those doubts were blasted away when he burst clear at the 200m mark to kick on and win by two lengths, carrying the top weight in the race of 57.5kg, no less. Great training performance by the unstoppable Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace, including the eyebrow-raising, rarely attempted step of starting him in the Cox Plate between the two Cups. Doubt them at your peril, so too the gifted jockey Mark Zahra, who came into racing comparatively late, but has one of the best brains among all those brave enough to don the silks. Eased back from gate 13 to get closer to the rail, was content to be in the last five heading out of the straight the first time, three-wide with a nice smother, moved up at the right time, gained a clear run around the turn. In truth, it was a fairly straightforward ride. The horse was on song and Zahra simply made no mistakes in giving him every chance to show what he could do, which is just what you want in the saddle.
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EMISSARY – 2nd
Brilliant performance from this lightly-raced six-year-old who again stood up the form for this race out of the Geelong Cup, which he won at his last start. Rider Paddy Moloney again turned in a simple, mistake-free ride, giving him a smooth run on the fence midfield from barrier three, easing off the fence around the 800 to avoid any tiring horses in front of him, and Emissary did the rest. Another horse who had to prove himself at the trip, having not been past 2500m before, and did so superbly, even looking a threat to the winner around the 150m before peaking on his run a little. Top marks to Flemington-based expat Kiwi trainer Mike Moroney, showing he’s still got it 22 years after his only win in this race.
HIGH EMOCEAN – 3rd
A memorable run that turned back the hands of time, from before this race’s international era. This six-year-old mare is as close as we get these days to the battler from the bush, showing up to scare the big boys in the nation’s great race. Won the Bendigo Cup only last Wednesday and squeezed into this field with a light weight of 50kg. Oh yeah, well done, we all thought. She didn’t just get a place in the field though, she barrelled home with the biggest finish of the last 250m to take third, relegating the highly-ranked foreign raider favourite Deauville Legend to fourth, no less. Settled out the back from gate 8, she followed Gold Trip and rattled home under her postage stamp handicap to come third, 3-1/4 lengths off the winner. Backmarkers like she and Gold Trip were entitled to catch those up front after a keen pace was set throughout, and especially from the 1000m mark. But still, she and her cool young rider Teo Nugent did it in fine style, providing Maher-Eustace with third as well as first.
Zahra drops two F-bombs hilarious chat | 00:47
DEAUVILLE LEGEND – 4th
A possibly contentious “stud” rating given he was favourite, at one stage as short as $3.50. Those were ridiculously short odds, though, another case of market-framers down here being seduced by English stayers with big reputations. And that wasn’t the horse’s fault. Hadn’t been beyond 2400m before, and was a northern hemisphere three-year-old carrying a hefty 55kg – not the 51 or 51.5 of same-aged British winners Cross Counter and Rekindling. That’s a big ask for a young, lightly raced horse – he’d had only six starts before today – who’s made the long trip here. Plus he hadn’t raced on rain-affected going before. He put in and was outstripped late by three southern six-year-olds, all 2.5 years older than him. Great credit also to Kerrin McEvoy for an outstanding ride. Did very well to find the fence from gate nine, popped off to avoid tiring horses at the 1000m, presented at just the right time, but couldn’t match the powerful finishes of the three who came from behind him.
REALM OF FLOWERS – 5th
This mare deserves a solid thumbs up for plugging on solidly for fifth, despite the many backers who came for her after the rain and forced her price in substantially. Another who came from the very back of the field. To be fair, she was asked to do a lot by rider Damien Thornton, who pushed up from the 600m and brought her around the field as the widest runner. High Emocean covered less ground, two horses to his inside, and her rider bided his time, tracking the winner who also trod that more economical path. Having covered that extra territory, Realm Of Flowers had far less in the tank in the last 200m that those other two, but didn’t dog it, beaten six lengths.
DAQIANSWEET JUNIOR – 6th
Another from the back and the best run from the bolters’ brigade. You knew he’d get the 3200m, having won over it before, but wasn’t given much chance on recent form, hence his $61 odds. But he slid up along the inside and was finishing well in the last 200m when most others were calling for the gas.
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STOCKMAN – 8th
A typical tradesmanlike performance from this bloke. Doesn’t have the class of a Gold Trip or Deauville Legend, but worked home in his usual honest fashion.
KNIGHTS ORDER – 9th
Had to work hard to hopefully get across from his outside gate, and unfortunately could not. Was stuck three-wide most of the way, albeit with cover, leaving his jockey Tim Clark to try a daring move by spearing to the front at the 800m. Was always going to struggle to hang on after all that, but boxed on fairly.
VOW AND DECLARE – 10th
Probably not best suited by the track after the rain earlier on the day, but finished on honestly to scrape into the last prizemoney spot.
HOO YA MAL – 12th
Great piece of work by jockey Craig Williams to find the fence from gate 14. Sadly his horse didn’t reciprocate. Williams moved him out into a clear running line around the turn. He even had the powerful rump of Emissary to follow if he wanted, but instead he just plodded in the straight. No marks for being first of the “second half” of the field – after the 10 length gap between 11th and him – which left him 20 lengths off the leader. Williams said the horse had fought him most of the way round, which could explain his empty tank in the straight.
WITHOUT A FIGHT – 13th
To be fair, it was likely going to be tough from barrier 17. But perhaps here’s a problem with visiting jockeys. William Buick’s a great rider back home in England. Here, while Mark Zahra decided going back to get close to the rail was the best policy even from gate 13 on Gold Trip, Buick pushed up from his wider barrier, and sure enough, found himself three-wide without cover heading into the back straight, up in seventh spot. Back home, at slower pace, that might be feasible. Here, it was game over. Given what the backmarkers did, he’d have been much better served going back. We certainly didn’t have the chance to see him at his best. Jockey sought to blame the going afterwards, saying “He’s a fast track horse”. He’d won two and placed twice from five starts on soft ground in England, and English “soft” is like Australian “heavy 10”. Hmmm…
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MONTEFILIA – 16th
No excuses here. She was heavily backed, likes wet tracks, but after being settled near the back, close to the fence from an ideal gate 11, she was presented for her run at the home turn and simply had nothing to give. Hadn’t been past 2500m before, and doubtful she will again. Jockey said she didn’t settle well in the run, so burned up a bit of energy fighting him. But still.
DUAIS – 18th
Had to cover a bit of extra ground, sitting three-wide from gate 10. Hugh Bowman felt he had enough in the tank to push up four and five wide approaching the turn, and was sufficiently emboldened to nudge a couple of other horses out rounding the bend to gain more clear running. But the mare gave him nothing in the straight. She was beaten 38 lengths in a run that made you wonder if something had gone wrong physically. But Bowman summed it up quite well by saying only: “I thought she’d go better than that”.