DUNADEN has given France its second successive winner in the Melbourne Cup, beating England’s Red Cadeaux by the barest margin in the $6.2 million race.
After the closest finish in the 151-year history of the race, German horse Lucas Cranach completed an international sweep of the placings.
Dunaden’s jockey Christophe Lemaire, who arrived in Australia 24 hours before the race after Craig Williams lost an appeal to keep the ride, shed tears when judges gave him the verdict.
“It’s incredible – it’s a great moment for me,” Lemaire said.
“I was a bit anxious. I knew it was very close.
“I feel very sorry for Craig. He’s a good friend of mine,” Lemaire said.
Last year’s winner Americain started favourite and finished fourth.
Dunaden followed the same path as Americain, winning the Geelong Cup in his only start in Australia before the Cup.
The victory, the eighth in 28 starts for the six-year-old stallion, lands his owner $3.6 million plus a trophy worth $175,000.
It was a triumph for French trainer Mikel Delzangles, a former assistant in the stable of Americain’s trainer Alain De Royer-Dupre at Chantilly.
“I’m still shaking. It’s amazing. I thought I was beaten, so it’s even better,” Delzangles said.
Dunaden started at $8.50, Red Cadeaux at $31 and Lucas Cranach $13.
Americain was favourite at $5.