Photo finish . . . Viewed hangs on against the fast finishing Bauer.The Melbourne Cup has been run and won with the foreign invasion repelled for another year. And who better to do it than the master himself, the man of the magical twirling eyebrows, cup king Bart Cummings?
Fifty years since he saddled his first Melbourne Cup runner, Cummings unleashed Viewed on an unsuspecting audience of Flemington racegoers and casual observers around the country and then stood modest and unassuming in victory to accept the adulation.
Not bad for an 80-year-old.
“I do make it a habit of winning this race, someone told me and I said it’s a good habit to have,” Cummings said.
“It’s great to see the Aussies succeed.”
Viewed’s victory gave Cummings a 12th cup victory and, as he shuffled through the media scrum to greet his charge, the grand old man of the track was already talking of a 13th.
Viewed earned $3.3 million for its owner Dato Tan Chin Nam.
Viewed, which paid a whopping $41 to those who follow the master, triumphed in an awesome finish, galloping to the lead in the straight.
With the winning post in sight Bauer, piloted by Corey Brown, broke free of the pack to mount a worthy challenge but, just when it appeared as if Bauer would run down the frontrunner, Viewed kicked again and held out by a nose.
Even Cummings thought it might have been a dead heat.
The best of the world – including the best stayer in Europe, Septimus, prepared by the best trainer in the world, Aidan O’Brien – weren’t good enough to unseat Cummings who claimed an unprecedented dozen. Imagine how long it might take for that record to be broken.
“Geez, he’s the master, Bart Cummings. You just can’t underestimate him,” winning jockey Blake Shinn said.
The jockey was yearning for the post to save him and worried, in those final few seconds, that he might have run too early.
Offices and pubs stopped for the running of the cup; even the pokies had a brief pause in clubland. As much as the Australian public enjoy the first Tuesday in November, the Australian racing fraternity has largely given up on breeding and preparing the quality of staying horses needed to compete with the best of Europe over 3200 metres.
Most have, but not J.B. Cummings.
Bauer, the only European horse to stay the test, gave himself every chance to run down Viewed and failed by the smallest of margins, leaving trainer Luca Cumani to ponder another tilt.
Last year he was second with Purple Moon and, in the sprint to the post, the English-based Italian must have thought he was going to go one better. But it wasn’t to be.
Third was C’est La Guerre, prepared by the Lloyd Williams camp, which carried off last year’s cup with Efficient.
Even further back – so far back you have to wonder whether they left their form in Singapore – came the trio prepared by Aidan O’Brien.
Alessandra Volta had raced to the front the first time the field passed the winning post and Septimus, the top weight, went along for the ride.
Given every chance to dictate race terms, Septimus was carried into the home straight and briefly led before fading badly, along with Alessandra Volta and Honolulu.