Media Puzzle took out the 142nd Melbourne Cup to give Irish trainer Dermot Weld and grieving jockey Damien Oliver their second victories in Australia’s richest and most famous race.
Oliver’s mount sprinted clear of the field in the final 400 metres to beat Mr Prudent by two lengths, with Beekeeper a further long neck away third. Weld, who became the first European trainer to win the A$4 million race with Vintage Crop in 1993, punched the air with delight after his six-year-old gelding crossed the line first, while Oliver broke down and cried.
Oliver, who rode Doriemus to victory in 1995, almost missed the race after his older brother Jason was killed in a training accident in the week leading up to the Cup. His father Ray also died after a race fall in 1975. Oliver paid tribute to his brother Jason, who died after a race fall. Oliver decided to ride in the Melbourne Cup as a tribute to the pair, wearing his brother’s breeches during the race.
With tears streaming down his face, Oliver, one of Australia’s leading riders, told the crowd: “The Melbourne Cup doesn’t mean anything to me any more. I’d give it away right now to have my brother back. But I know it was the right thing to ride. Jason would have wanted that. This has made me think of how dangerous this game is but I knew my brother would have wanted me to be here.”