Twilight Payment gives Joseph O’Brien his second Melbourne Cup winner
Aidan O’Brien second with Tiger Moth but Anthony Van Dyck suffers fatal injury
Jye McNeil and Twilight Payment took the Melbourne Cup for Joseph O’Brien. Photograph: Vince Caligiuri/Getty
Joseph O’Brien sent out his second winner of the Lexus Melbourne Cup as Twilight Payment triumphed in the Group One contest at Flemington.
O’Brien claimed the two-mile event with Rekindling in 2017 and he again was on the mark as Jye McNeil’s mount fended off Tiger Moth, trained by O’Brien’s father Aidan, to take the prize.
Charlie Fellowes’ British raider Prince Of Arran, placed in the last two Melbourne Cups, again finished with a flourish to take third.
However, the race was marred by a fatal injury to last year’s Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, who was euthanised after fracturing a fetlock.
McNeil had his mount prominent throughout with Tiger Moth also to the fore in the early stages before settling back into third.
With five furlongs to run, the 23-strong field was well strung out and Twilight Payment was winding it up in front and Twilight Payment had lengths to spare entering the closing stages.
However, Tiger Moth charged home late, but Joseph O’Brien again denied his father, as he did three years ago when Rekindling beat Johannes Vermeer.
O’Brien told Sky Sports Racing: “Jye gave the horse a fantastic ride. Credit goes to the lads who have looked after Twilight Payment for the last month or so. They’ve done a fantastic job with the horses down there.
“This was our first full year with him, he came to us halfway through last year. Going through the summer, he ran a couple of huge races at the Curragh.
“I was worried today he might have got a bit of pressure on the lead, but the horse has an incredible heart and Jye gave him a fantastic ride and he has a huge will to win.”
O’Brien said: “It’s a privilege to train for the people that I train for and the horses that we have.
“We really appreciate the support and the success when it comes, but it’s a tough game as everybody knows and it’s a fine line from the top and the bottom. I’m just very appreciative.
“The proof that he got the fractions spot on is watching the race when you see Tiger Moth finish, but the horse is incredible and I’m just thankful of the support and the work everyone has done with the horse, at home as well.”
Of beating his father once again in the Australian event, O’Brien added: “We both realise how hard it is to win on the world stage in these big, big races, but I am very lucky that I have been able to win a couple of big races.
“Dad has been very lucky, he has won a lot of big races, I’d be delighted for him if he had won, and I’m sure he is for me having won. We do our best on the track and whatever happens out there happens.
“I was really too nervous to see what was going to happen. I was hardly able to watch, but it was a fantastic ride by Jye and a fantastic effort by all the lads with the horse.”
Kerrin McEvoy was thrilled with Tiger Moth’s effort in second, beaten half a length, on what was only his fifth career start.
He told www.racing.com: “We were able to get across into a nice spot. We dropped in and got a nice lead and he travelled really well.
“The winner kept running, I just had to pick up to get into the race, which he did, but the winner was just a bit strong today.
“It was a great run for a young horse having only his fifth start in a race. He’s run really well.”
Prince Of Arran was finishing fastest of all at the line and jockey Jamie Kah was left ruing her luck after their three-quarter-length defeat.
She said: “He was super unlucky. He really deserves it. He just had no luck on the turn.”
Fellowes tweeted: “Incredibly proud of Prince Of Arran. Another wonderful run in Australia’s great race. Thank you AledBeech for looking after him so well, thank you Jamie Kah for a lovely ride, thank you to the Obaida family for sending him to me to train. 4th time lucky next year?”
The Willie Mullins-trained Stratum was 20th and jockey Jordan Childs said: “He ran OK. We got up on a nice spot, travelled good. They were just a bit slick for him when the pace quickened.”
Dashing Willoughby beat just one horse home for trainer Andrew Balding.
His rider Michael Walker said: “He’s not right, the horse. He’s not right. Action-wise he’s not right.”
German runner Ashrun finished 10th while last year’s winner Vow And Declare was 18th.