By Richard Rosenblatt
Twilight Payment moved into the lead just out of the starting gate, then held off a late bid by Tiger Moth and won the $8 million Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse in Australia.
The 3,200-meter race is rarely won in gate-to-wire fashion, but jockey Jye McNeil said his instructions from trainer Joseph O’Brien were to be at the front of the 23-horse field and go from there. McNeil followed orders and wound up with his first Cup victory.
“I’m overwhelmed with emotion at the moment, it’s a miracle,’’ McNeil said after Tuesday’s race. “The only pressure I felt was to get it (the plan) right.”
O’Brien won his second Cup – his first was with Rekindling in 2017 – and did so as Twilight Payment topped a horse trained by his father, Aidan O’Brien.
“(Joseph) wanted me to be a step ahead of the field and really get them chasing, because what he sort of lacked in class, he makes up for in his staying ability,” McNeil said of Twilight Payment.
Anthony Van Dyck euthanized
Aidan O’Brien-trained Anthony Van Dyck, among the top contenders, was pulled up late in the race and taken off the track by ambulance. The 4-year-old horse sustained a fractured fetlock and was euthanized, said Racing Victoria’s executive general manager, Jamie Stier.
“The horse received immediate veterinary care, however he was unable to be saved due to the nature of the injury sustained,’’ Stier said.
Hugh Bowman, the jockey aboard Anthony Van Dyck, was uninjured.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no spectators for the “Race that Stops a Nation” that usually draws a crowd of about 120,000.
Order of finish
Twilight Payment, a 7-year-old gelding, is owned by Lloyd Williams and family, giving the Williams’ a seventh Cup win. The winner paid $27.20.
After Tiger Moth, Prince of Arran finished third, followed by The Chosen One, Persan, Sir Dragonet, Verry Elleegant, Russian Camelot, Finche, Ashrun, Oceanex, Warning, Surprise Baby, Miami Bound, Master of Reality, Steel Prince, Etah James, Vow And Declare, Mustajeer, Stratum Albion, Dashing Willoughby, and Avilius.