Whistlejacket goes to the 159th Melbourne Cup

Since an ancestor of ours was involved in the first race meetings held at Flemington we have a special affection for this day.

Aryaaf and Luke Nolen
Aryaaf and Luke Nolen Picture: Racing and Sports

Bravo Tango and Billy Egan
Bravo Tango and Billy Egan Picture: Racing and Sports

Sure Knee and K McEvoy winning the Tab Trophy
Sure Knee and K McEvoy winning the Tab Trophy Picture: Racing and Sports

Shared Ambition and Nash Rawiller
Shared Ambition and Nash Rawiller Picture: Racing and Sports

Teleplay and Nash Rawiller
Teleplay and Nash Rawiller Picture: Racing and Sports

Vow and Declare and Craig Williams
Vow and Declare and Craig Williams Picture: Racing and Sports

Today the sun was out – such a contrast to Saturday.  And it seemed like there was no time until the action got underway.

The first for the babies went the way of Team Hayes with a lovely little filly called Aryaaf who seemed delighted with herself for winning.  Luke Nolan had guided her through well to come up the outside and show a nice turn of foot in the finish.  Muntaseera and Linda Meech got second and Marchena third with Mark Zahra riding.

The second went to the Mitch Freedman trained Bravo Tango with Billy Egan riding.  Aliferous and Extreme Pride filled the minors.

Keep bumping into people in the Mounting Yard – Ali Vance whom we last saw at Santiago is anchoring the World Feed and Henry BIrtles, a poet of note too!

So much nicer now the sun is out and its starting to warm up.  Third race went to Sure Knee, a homebred for the Inghams as she's out of their mare Shawnee Girl and Debbie Kepitis was over the moon to see the famous Ingham colours salute on Melbourne Cup day!  Chris Waller is the trainer and the jockey was Kieran McEvoy, and of course they are going to team up later with Finche.  Aliferous was second and Extreme Pride third.

Coming up to the fourth now and it is really a very delightful day weather-wise and some good racing as well as Shared Ambition under Nash Rawiller got a good break on the rails and came through to take the race.  Chris Waller trains a double and some of the owners are also in Finch.  Shared Ambition is unbeaten since coming to Australia.  Creedence and Big Blue the minors.

The fifth now and Garner (by Barbados so guess where the name comes from) with Dwayne Dunn riding gets the win from Can't Be Done and Hawker Hurricane.  The Mounting Yard is filling up fast and there's a heap of music stands at the entrance to the press centre.

Teleplay has won here before on Cup Day and got the win this time under Nash Rawiller with La Tigeresa next and Sweet Scandal third.

Then it was time for the entertainment before the big one and it was one of the best shows we have scene.  The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra was on hand and the crowd all joined in "Love is in the Air" and then the National Anthem.  Amanda Elliott, Chair of the VRC looking lovely in lilac went to the gates to receive the Cup and let in the flags representing each of the horses come in and line the mounting yard with the jockeys coming in and joining them.

And then the horses – all 24 of them – looking magnificent it was hard to pick a stand out.  The race itself was on the slow side, probably because of the going and the fact that it was hard to come from behind so that horses who were on the pace were favoured.  Il Paradiso did manage a big run from the back and goes into the little black book for next year.  But all honours go to Craig Williams who got across to the rail from a wide draw and was able to site there until coming round the home turn the gap appeared and through they went.  Master of Reality was up there too but he veered across in front of Il Paradiso and subsequently got relegated to fourth, with Prince of Arran getting second and Il Paradiso fourth.

Yulong Prince won the 8th giving Nash Rawiller a treble for the day and we got stuck in the taxi queue to get back to the flying horsebox.  Uber had crashed and the queue went halfway up the drive but fortunately the kind part-owner of Aliferous and her son were also heading to the airport so we made our respective flights – just.

That has to be one of the most enjoyable Melbourne Cup days we have been to, and we've been to a few – not as many as Ron Hutchinson, the great former jockey who won the Australian Cup in 1945 as a 17 year old!  He never won a Melbourne Cup but was second in 1961.  We asked him if he felt nostalgic and he said no, he had had his day and was just happy to be around to witness such good racing and now the Ron Hutchinson Prize goes to the jockey who has the most wins over the Carnival.

Racing and Sports