Vow And Declare triumphs in Melbourne Cup

first_img..Frankie Dettori banned as runner-up Master Of Reality demotedVOW And Declare won a dramatic Melbourne Cup while Frankie Dettori’s runner-up Master Of Reality was demoted to fourth after a stewards’ inquiry.Dettori was given a nine-meeting ban after the victor, trained by Australian Danny O’Brien, won in a tight finish.Stewards ruled Dettori, riding for Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien, impeded Il Paradiso, who was fourth past the post for Joseph’s father Aidan.Il Paradiso was promoted to third, with British hope Prince Of Arran second.Dettori looked to have sealed his first victory in the two-mile Flemington race ‘that stops a nation’ but Craig Williams claimed his maiden Melbourne Cup triumph on Vow And Declare before more drama in the stewards’ room.Italian-born Dettori, 48, was banned for nine racedays in the state of Victoria, up to and including 13 November.Prince Of Arran’s jockey Michael Walker was fined AUS10,000 (£5,400) and suspended for seven race meetings for overuse of the whip.But there was only elation for Williams, who said of his mount: “It was a privilege to ride him today and great to be associated with such a great horse.”Winning trainer O’Brien was also celebrating a first Melbourne Cup victory, with the four-year-old gelding who was bred in Australia.“I really can’t believe it, I just feel incredibly blessed to have a horse good enough to be in it. The last 100 (metres) he just wouldn’t give in,” said O’Brien, who is no relation to the Irish father-and-son trainers.Asked where the horse’s name came from, owner-breeder Paul Lanskey said he was named after his father.“Dad would come home from the pub and say to mum: ‘I vow and declare I’ve only had a few beers.’”Prince Of Arran was awarded second after the inquiry, having finished third last year for British trainer Charlie Fellowes.“I’m incredibly proud of the horse. To do what he has done two years in a row is a remarkable achievement,” said Fellowes.The build-up to the race had seen animal welfare in the spotlight after recent cruelty scandals in Australia.Of the 24 runners, 23 horses returned back safely, although Rostropovich was found to be lame and taken to the University of Melbourne Equine Centre for further assessment.How the drama unfoldedDettori, who first rode in the Flemington race 26 years ago when Master Of Reality’s trainer was just six months old, sensed this could be his chance to finally claim the AUS$8m (£4.3m) race.The three-time Britrish champion jockey, who has ridden a personal record of 19 top-level Group One winners this year, was always handily placed and pushed his mount clear as the race developed in the final quarter-mile.But just as Master Of Reality looked to have stolen the prize, Williams shot up the inside on Vow And Declare.Meanwhile, Prince Of Arran came into contention and Il Paradiso finished with a late flourish under Wayne Lordan.The pair were closing all the time before being checked as Dettori drifted to his left and Vow And Declare just managed to keep on for a narrow victory.It was another Melbourne Cup to forget for Dettori, who was banned for a month and fined A$20,000 for careless riding on Max Dynamite, runner-up to Prince Of Penzance in 2015.Joseph O’Brien, who won the 2017 Melbourne Cup with Rekindling, was disappointed Master Of Reality could not give Dettori his first win in the race, with the Italian having also finished second in 1999 on Central Park.“I’m more gutted for Frankie than I am for myself,” the trainer told The Age newspaper.“I’ll be back. I don’t know if Frankie is ever going to win this race.” (BBC Sport)last_img