This race won’t be remembered for the greatness of the win. It will be rememberd for a couple reasons: It was the closest finish in Cup history and the fact that nine of the first ten horses across the line originally started their career overseas, another example of how this great race is now recognised as one of the best across the world.
Like two previous cup winners, Dunaden qualified thanks to a brilliant win in the Geelong Cup, aided by a wonderful ride by Craig Williams. However, Williams was got suspended afterwards and could not take the ride for the Flemington feature, so connections made an sos call to Christophe Lemaire to ride the gelding. He knew for sure he’d get the ride at 5pm on the Monday before and it would be the first time he’d be riding around the famous Flemington circuit. Dunaden went to the barriers an $8.50 chance and was to start from gate 13.
Dunaden jumped alongside the 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain and they both got away well and settled a touch worse than midfield in the run. The Bart Cummings trained Illo set a very slow speed up in front and made it hard for the back markers to get going. That was until the 1600m mark when Illo pulled very hard and took charge of Jimmy Cassidy. He quickened up the speed dramatically and suddenly it was fair play.
700m out, Lemaire got Dunaden into the clear and tracked up behind Lucas Cranach. English galloper, Red Cadeaux, was on his tail and ready to strike. The front runners were quickly beaten off and it was the swoopers out wide, with Lucas Cranach hitting the lead, before Red Cadeaux stormed up and dashed to the front…but the horse with the yellow silks wasn’t beaten at all and kept giving and giving to come underneath Red Cadeaux and charge late…and they hit the line.
Several minutes later and nobody knows who has won yet. Could it be for the first time in 151 runnings of this race, we will get a dead heat? But the photo finish eventually flashed up and in the closest finish ever to the Melbourne Cup, Dunaden held on just from Red Cadeaux to give France their second Melbourne Cup in as many years.