Punter's incredible $500,000 Melbourne Cup payday

The rain has arrived at Flemington  Image Getty

The rain has arrived at Flemington Image Getty

British stayer Cross Counter won the 158th running of the Melbourne Cup, handing the powerful Godolphin stable a first win in Australia's most famous horse race after 20 years of frustration. The horse was euthanised after the race at Flemington.

"Our sympathies are extended to Coolmore and the Williams family, the owners of The Cliffsofmoher, jockey Ryan Moore, trainer Aidan O'Brien and his staff who cared for the horse and are greatly saddened by their loss".

The fines of the jockeys for excessive whip use would add to the anger of animal rights activists who were outraged by the euthanization of The Cliffsofmoher, which shattered a shoulder bone early in the race.

"The horse received immediate veterinary care, however it was unable to be saved due to the nature of the injury sustained".

"Unfortunately, these things can happen to a horse galloping around the field at home", Irishman O'Brien said.

"Charlie Appleby has done the most unbelievable job this year, huge credit to him and his team". All four of the top finishers were bred in Great Britain.

In fact, with Marmelo and A Prince Of Arran coming in second and third, it was a British-dominated field in Melbourne.

The 38-year-old copped a 21-meeting ban for being one kilogram overweight on Melbourne Cup runner-up Marmelo.

"In that field alone, horses were hit with whips several hundred times at least, with the highest number of hits occurring in the final 100 metres, when they are already exhausted".

Sheikh Mohammed's personal Melbourne Cup drought had stretched three decades back to 1988 when he was first represented in the Cup by Authaal, trained by the late Colin Hayes, which finished 19th.

In 2015 crowd favourite and three-time Cup runner up Red Cadeaux had to be euthanised two-and-a-half weeks after the Cup as a result of complications from an injury suffered in that year's race.

In a statement the RSPCA said there was a growing number of Australians who felt uncomfortable watching horse racing.

Japan-based Chestnut Coat, trained by Yoshito Yahagi, was 14th.

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