Elvis was crowned king of Australia Oct. 16 with a grand staying performance for a wire-to-wire victory in the $2.2 million (Australian funds) Caulfield Cup (Aust-I).
Amid 51,000 cheering fans, Elvstroem was chased hard right to the finish by Makybe Diva (10-1), the reigning queen of Australasian stayers. She and Glen Moss went around the 17 other runners, of which all but two were ahead of them at the 800-meter pole.
At the wire in Australia's toughest handicap at 2,400 meters, Danehill's current marquee colt in the south had only a half head to spare over the English-foaled daughter of Desert King. Elvstroem ran as a 3-1 favorite.
The Diva won the Melbourne and Sydney Cups (both Aust-I) last season. Her prep for the Nov. 2 Melbourne Cup was so sensational, she's a 4-1 elect to become the first female to win successive Cups -- a feat achieved by just three horses. The other three were males.
The first Victoria Derby (Aust-I) winner in 40 years to add the Caulfield Cup at four is named for Paul Elvstroem, winner of four Olympic sailing golds for Denmark. The fans prefer Elvis.
His dam, Circles of Gold, was second in the 1994 Caulfield Cup for a group including Elvstroem's breeder and senior partner of 12, Frank Tagg. The Australian Oaks (Aust-I) winner is by Marscay from Olympic Aim.
Circles of Gold has an unraced juvenile colt by Danehill and a yearling colt by Fusaichi Pegasus. She missed to Rock Of Gibraltar in 2003.
Tagg sold Elvstroem for $330,000 at Easter 2002, the first year X-rays were introduced at Australian yearling sales. He failed a subsequent vet examination. The $1.35 million from the Cup advanced his earnings to $3.37 million. His seven wins from 21 starts include three group Is.
Nash Rawiller won the 127th Cup by seizing the initiative at the start. The significance of the first Cup was an emotional one for handler Tony Vasil, 44. He has always lived locally and as a kid sold newspapers outside the track on race days. He had a 100-1 shot finish second in 1998.
Almost lost amid the torrent of accolades for the first pair after their epic duel was the third by Unbridled's Song
horse Grey Song. Fourth and second in the past two runnings, the gray 6-year-old was again brave. He came up 1 1/4 lengths shy after being last early. The 2:31.37 was the slowest running in 12 years, the official track rating of 'dead' overly optimistic.