European team bemoan slow pace
British raiders were left to bemoan the lethargic gallop to the Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington as Green Moon ensured Australia's greatest racing prize remained on home soil for the first time in three years.
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Only those involved with the breeding industry on each side of the Irish Sea could find cause for celebration this time around, as the winner turned out for Lambourn-based Harry Dunlop until 2010 before being transferred to veteran owner Lloyd Williams and his private trainer Robert Hickmott.
A length behind in second was another export in Fiorente, on his first run since moving from Sir Michael Stoute to Gai Waterhouse, while Marco Botti's Jakkalberry managed to lead home the formidable international challenge by staying on for third.
From there on, though, it was a case of varying degrees of hard-luck stories.
Locals had virtually given up on the notion the visiting Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall would be handing the 152nd Cup back to anyone but the 'internationals' as the previous two French winners, Dunaden and Americain, vied for favouritism with Luca Cumani's Mount Athos.
Not one of those three made any impact during the race, with Mount Athos charging from a hopeless position to fare best in fifth, as they were all undone by Glencadam Gold slowing things down from the front.
Botti described his first Flemington visit as a "fantastic adventure", although he said: "He ran a very good race, but he probably could have done with the pace being a bit quicker.
"He stayed on very well. I knew I'd left a bit of improvement after the Caulfield Cup and I had him at his best today.
"He's got an invitation for the Japan Cup and there's Hong Kong, but we'll see how he comes out of this.
"There's also Dubai and then we'll think about coming back next year."
Cumani could only manage a weak smile as he was forced to wait another 12 months to capture a race which continues to confound him.
Stablemate My Quest For Peace was also 10th, and he said: "The race was run in a strange way and the slow pace didn't suit our horses.
"Mount Athos was further back than we would have liked, Ryan (Moore) started to move him forwards but he got bumped. He was the fastest finisher in the race."
Mount Athos' owner, Dr Marwan Koukash, who has lit up the press conferences with his boundless enthusiasm, said: "I'm a bit disappointed but he ran a big race.
"He would have liked a better pace but he finished like a train.
"Hopefully we can have a similar campaign and come back next year."
Echoing the complaint was Ed Dunlop, trainer of eighth-placed Red Cadeaux, who said: "About 15 jockeys will tell you that there was no pace.
"He had to drop in anyway, but he just couldn't make up the ground."
The only European runner to ever reach prominence was the representative of dual winner Dermot Weld, although the Irish challenger weakened to 20th.
"We had thunder and lightning but, unfortunately, no rain," said Weld.
"If we'd had a drop of rain he could have been in the first three."
The 2011 hero Dunaden (14th) never featured under his huge burden.
Owner Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani's racing manager David Redvers said: "He won so well in the Caulfield Cup that it might have taken the edge off him.
"He's probably got too much weight in handicaps and he'll stick to Group races from now on."
However, Craig Williams revealed that Dunaden nearly fell about a furlong after the start.
Williams said that he clipped the heels of Americain and the horse's nose virtually touched the turf.
"He blundered and had to pick himself up," Williams told www.racingnetwork.com.au.
"By the time they went it developed into a sprint home and with that type of weight and being out the back gave him no chance.
Pressed about the performance, Williams replied: "Awkward draw, too much weight, nearly fell at the start and the tempo was too slow."
Williams believes that Dunaden's future lies in weight-for-age races over a mile and a half.
"He's definitely not a handicapper any more," Williams said.
Americain was 11th, while the other European runner, Godolphin's Cavalryman, could not produce a final flourish for the departing Frankie Dettori back in 12th.
Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford told www.godolphin.com: "There was no pace and Cavalryman got too far back.
"You cannot quicken off a slow pace like that when you are trying to come from the rear.
"He will be kept in training and will head back to Dubai for the winter."
Frankie Dettori added: "The race didn't suit Cavalryman as they went very slow early and he could not quicken."