The 2013 Melbourne winner is Fiorente who produced a strong staying performance to win the race in impressive fashion from Red Cadeaux and Mount Athos.
Fiorente, who was given the perfect ride by jockey Damien Oliver, hit the front with 300 metres left to run but was challenged by veteran stayer Red Cadeaux who loomed as the winner at the 100 metre mark.
Fiorente dug deep and was able to kick clear from Red Cadeaux , who finished second in the Melbourne Cup for the second time in three years, in the final stages of the race and Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos who finished third in what was a brave effort.
Gai Waterhouse, who was given a standing ovation by the crowd after the race, had prepared Fiorente for the 2013 Melbourne Cup since he finished a brave second behind Green Moon in last year’s race and was clearly delighted to become the first female Australian trainer to win ‘the race that stops a nation’.
‘Racing’s Leading Lady’ made the controversial decision to replace Nash Rawiller with Damien Oliver on Fiorente after the Turnbull Stakes but her decision was well and truly justified when Oliver gave Fiorente the perfect run into the race.
“Didn’t he ride him a treat,” Waterhouse said after the race.
“He got to about 12th, it was a very solidly run race, and he just kept checking up and checking up; it was just fantastic.
“It is a dream come true; I am so thrilled for all the owners and I am so thrilled for all the people that come up to me every day and say ‘good luck Gai’.
“I love racing and I love people being involved in it and nobody does it better than the VRC.
“It is the race that stops the nation and isn’t it nice to have a favourite that can do that.”
Damien Oliver has had a mixed year, after being suspended for six months, but was clearly thrilled to have recorded his third victory in the Melbourne Cup after previously winning the race with Doriemus (1995) and Media Puzzle (2002).
Waterhouse was one of the leading trainers that threw her support behind Oliver after he returned from suspension and Oliver said that he was extremely happy to be able to play a part in Waterhouse’s first Melbourne Cup triumph.
“It is amazing, it is a dream come true and there are a lot of emotions coming through my body right now,” Oliver said.
“I am so wrapped that I could be a part of Gai’s first one, she has done so much to support racing, and it is great honor for me to help bring home her first one.
“Gai was one of the first people to really get behind me when I came back and I can’t thank her enough for helping me get going again.
“We have been a great team and there is nothing better than winning this one.
“It is every jockey’s dream come true and it is a really special moment.”
Oliver missed out on riding Fiorente in the Cox Plate due to suspension and said that he had been looking forward to riding the Monsun entire in the 2013 Melbourne Cup since he was offered the mount by Waterhouse after the imported stayer finished fourth behind Happy Trails in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
“It was a bit like having a Christmas present and not being able to open it; I’ve been really excited to ride this horse,” Oliver said.
“They went really hard early and I wanted him a bit closer but I would have had to be forcing him to be there.
“I just let the pace go and let him be happy.
“He moved into the race beautifully on the turn and it was just a matter of holding them off and he was just too strong.
“When you are in front in the last 200m it seems to take forever in the Melbourne Cup.
The victory takes Oliver’s Group 1 tally to 98 wins and he became the first jockey in Australian racing history to record ten wins in the four ‘majors’ on the racing calendar.
Fiorente was the first Melbourne Cup favourite to win the race since champion mare Makybe Diva in 2005 and Oliver now joins Glen Boss with three wins in the race.