Gai Waterhouse, Australia's first lady of racing, enjoyed her first victory in the nation's most famous race when Fiorente took the Emirates Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) from Red Cadeaux in a thriller at Flemington Nov. 5.
The winner and runner-up delivered a rousing battle in the race worth $6 million ($5,696,731 in United States funds) while more than 100,000 fans roared as the two horses pulled clear of the field inside the final 200 meters.
Fiorente knuckled down when asked for more by Damien Oliver and edged ahead in the closing stages while Red Cadeaux tried to battle back. Fiorente was too strong, however, and powered on to the finish line to win by three-quarters of a length.
The 7-1 favorite in the 24-horse field, Fiorente covered 3,200 meters (about two miles) in 3:20.30 on turf rated good to improve on his runner-up finish to Green Moon in last year's edition of the race. This year's win marked his first victory at the group I level.
Waterhouse said her Melbourne Cup breakthrough after two previous runner-up finishes was indescribable.
"I'm just so thrilled for the owners because they bought the horse a year ago, and it ran second the first time it goes around in the Melbourne Cup and then comes back and wins the Cup," she said. "He is a world-class horse. He has got an impeccable pedigree and he's very versatile from 1,400 to 3,200 (meters). You dream about a horse like this."
In addition to Fiorente's runner-up finish, Waterhouse finished second with her first Melbourne Cup runner 20 years ago, Te Akau Nick.
Oliver rode his third Melbourne Cup winner following Media Puzzle in 2002 and Doriemus in 1995.
Oliver gave Fiorente a perfectly timed ride, bringing him mid-field and angling him wide into the stretch as Red Cadeaux and Simenon took charge up front from Mount Athos. Charging hard on the outside, Fiorente drew alongside Red Cadeaux with 300 meters left to run en route to his scintillating triumph.
Trained in England by Ed Dunlop, 8-year-old Red Cadeaux finished second again after being beaten a nose by Dunaden in 2011. This year's Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) runner-up was eighth in last year's Melbourne Cup and started at 61-1 odds this year.
Mount Athos, a 7-year-old who finished fifth in 2012, hung on for third this year for trainer Luca Cumani, 2 1/4 lengths behind Red Cadeaux.
The top five finishers in the Melbourne Cup were bred in Great Britain or Ireland. Irish-bred Simenon finished fourth and British-bred Dandino was fifth. Australian-bred Fawkner checked in sixth.
Irish-bred Fiorente posted two wins and three thirds from eight starts in England. He defeated Joshua Tree in the 2012 Princess of Wales's Goldsmith's Stakes (Eng-II) at Newmarket and finished second to Nathaniel in the 2011 King Edward II Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot.
After a fourth to Orfevre in the 2012 Prix Foy (Fr-II) last September at Longchamp, the 6-year-old son of Monsun was acquired by an Australian partnership from owner/breeder Ballymacoll Stud in a deal brokered by bloodstock agent James Harron.
Fiorente's runner-up finish in the 2012 Melbourne Cup marked his first Australian start. This year's Melbourne Cup victory was his second win from seven starts there.
He captured the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (Aus-II) Sept. 14 and entered the Melbourne Cup off a third to Shamus Award in the W.S. Cox Plate (Aus-I) Oct. 26, both at Moonee Valley. His overall record stands at four wins, four seconds, and two thirds from 16 lifetime starts.
Fiorente is one of three winners out of the unraced Pilsudski mare Desert Bloom. His second dam Desert Beauty is a half sister to 2003 champion turf female Islington, winner of that season's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT).
The $3.6 million ($3,415,778) winner's share of the Melbourne Cup purse pushed his career bankroll to $5,003,700 while deposing Shirocco as the highest-earning son of elite sire Monsun, who died last year in Germany.
Listen to Gai's thoughts on Fiorente leading up to 2012 the Melbourne Cup: