Green Moon Pulls Melbourne Cup Upset
Green Moon upstaged the two most recent winners of the Emirates Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) when he captured this year’s $6,410,000 edition of “the race that stops a nation” Nov. 6 at Flemington Racecourse in Australia.
With an estimated crowd of 106,000 on hand, the 5-year-old Montjeu horse stormed from off a slow pace and overtook pacesetter Glencadam Gold about a furlong out. He drew clear under Hong Kong-based rider Brett Prebble and won by a length from hard-charging Fiorente, who bested Jakkalberry by 2 1/4 lengths for second.
Trained by Robert Hickmott and sent off at 20-to-1 odds, Green Moon was timed in 3:20.45 for the two-mile (3,200-meter) contest, giving owner Lloyd Williams a fourth victory in the race.
“I thought the only thing that could get him beaten was his stamina if he didn't stay the trip,” Prebble said. “But the feeling he was giving me at the 1,200 (six-furlong mark) was the sort of feeling you only get from very good horses.”
Williams, a leading owner and breeder in Australia who races Green Moon with his son Nick, previously won the Melbourne Cup with Just A Dash (1981), What a Nuisance (1985), and Efficient (2007). Just A Dash was the oldest living Melbourne Cup winner until he died at age 35 late last week.
Hickmott also sent out Mourayan, who finished seventh.
Winner of a listed stakes at Newmarket in England for his previous connections--trainer Harry Dunlop and owner-breeder Mrs. Ben Goldsmith—Green Moon was privately acquired by Williams in 2010 to race in Australia. He became a multiple group winner there and earned his first top-level victory in the Turnbull Stakes (Aus-I) Oct. 6 at Flemington. In his subsequent start, he finished seventh as the favorite in the Sportingbet W. S. Cox Plate (Aus-I), Australia’s premier weight-for-age race, at Moonee Valley Racecourse Oct. 27 but rebounded emphatically in the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s greatest race.
Green Moon has four wins and three seconds from 12 Australian starts and an overall mark of seven wins and three seconds from 20 career starts. His record includes two other Australian group wins and a second in the 2011 BMW Caulfield Cup (Aus-I).
Dunaden and Red Cadeaux, the winner and close runner-up in last year’s race, and Americain, winner in 2010, were never in contention at the finish.
Dunaden, the 7-to-1 favorite, was unable to overcome several factors against him, including his hefty impost of 59 kilograms (130 pounds), the highest in the Melbourne Cup’s recent history. Conceding from three to 18 pounds to his 23 opponents, he finished 14th.
“Wide barrier (16), too much weight, slow pace, nothing to take him into the race,'' jockey Craig Williams told the Sydney Morning Herald after the race. ''He tried his heart out but everything went against him, particularly the tempo, when he needed everything to go his way.''
Americain, the 7.50-to-1 co-second choice with Mount Athos, found trouble in the straight and finished 11th under controversial rider Damien Oliver. Mount Athos finished fifth.
Australian racing officials were criticized for allowing Oliver to ride while he is under investigation for illegal betting. Oliver reportedly admitted that two years ago he wagered against one of his mounts at Moonee Valley. He had been booked to ride Green Moon in the Melbourne Cup as well as the Cox Plate but Williams took him off his horse amidst the corruption allegations.
Red Cadeaux, the 9.50-to-1 third favorite, finished eighth.
Bred in Ireland, Green Moon is one of 117 stakes winners by Coolmore’s elite sire Montjeu, who died earlier this year at age 16 with complications of septicemia, a bloodstream infection.
Green Moon is the only foal out of the Green Tune mare Green Noon, a French group III winner who finished second in the 2003 Prix Marcel Boussac Criterium des Pouliches Royal Barriere Deauville (Fr-I). He was one of 18 runners in the 24-horse Melbourne Cup field bred in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Melbourne Cup was attended by Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, who are visiting Australia as part of a two-week tour of the Pacific in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 60-year-reign.
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