French raider Dunaden just pipped British runner Red Cadeaux in a thrilling finish to the Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington Park.
The Mikel Delzangles-trained runner was racing neck and neck with Ed Dunlop’s Red Cadeaux and the pair flashed past the post together to force a photo.
However, Christophe Lemaire just edged in front aboard Dunaden at the line to deny Michael Rodd aboard Red Cadeaux.
Delzangles said: “I’m still shaking. It’s amazing. I thought I was beaten so it’s even better.”
Lemaire only stepped in for the ride at the last minute after Craig Williams was ruled out of the race through suspension. Williams rode Dunaden to win the Geelong Cup in his prep race earlier this month and Delzangles paid tribute to his efforts.
Delzangles added: “I would like to have a thought for Craig Williams who should have been on the horse. He did a great job in preparation for the horse and he has been a gentleman. I want to thank all the people we have met here who have helped us.”
Lemaire said: “They went very slowly in the beginning but on the back straight we started to go a bit faster and I was always confident. The horse in front of me was going really well and it brought me to the front very easily.
“I was a bit anxious after the line. A rider on a pony told me they thought I had won and then when I turned the corner back towards the stands, everyone was applauding me.
“Two years ago I had a fall before Arc weekend and I missed winning four Group One races, all because of my collarbone, so I know what it is like to watch in your armchair.
“Emotionally I think this is the second best moment in my career. The first was winning the Prix de Diane, because all my family were there and I was on a big favourite called Divine Proportions.”