Home / World / Sports / Melbourne Cup 2019: Vow And Declare wins; Frankie Dettori banned as runner-up Master Of Reality demoted

Melbourne Cup 2019: Vow And Declare wins; Frankie Dettori banned as runner-up Master Of Reality demoted

Melbourne Cup
Vow And Declare (far right) triumphed amid a bunched finish

Vow And Declare won a dramatic Melbourne Cup while Frankie Dettori’s runner-up Master Of Reality was demoted to fourth after a stewards’ inquiry.

Dettori was given a nine-meeting ban after the victor, trained by Australian Danny O’Brien, won in a tight finish.

Stewards ruled Dettori, riding for Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien, impeded Il Paradiso, who was fourth past the post for Joseph’s father Aidan.

Il Paradiso was promoted to third, with British raider Prince Of Arran second.

Dettori looked to have sealed his first victory in the two-mile race ‘that stops a nation’ but Craig Williams claimed his maiden Melbourne Cup triumph on Vow And Declare before more drama in the stewards’ room.

Italian-born Dettori, 48, was banned for nine racedays in the state of Victoria, up to and including 13 November.

But there was only elation for Williams, who said of his mount: “It was a privilege to ride him today and great to be associated with such a great horse.”

Winning trainer O’Brien was also celebrating a first Melbourne Cup victory.

“I really can’t believe it, I just feel incredibly blessed to have a horse good enough to be in it. The last 100 (metres) he just wouldn’t give in,” said O’Brien, who is no relation to the Irish father-and-son trainers.

Asked where the horse’s name came from, owner-breeder Paul Lanskey said he was named after his father.

“Dad would come home from the pub and say to mum: ‘I vow and declare I’ve only had a few beers.'”

Prince Of Arran was awarded second after the inquiry, having finished third last year for British trainer Charlie Fellowes.

“I’m incredibly proud of the horse. To do what he has done two years in a row is a remarkable achievement,” said Fellowes.

The build-up to the race had seen animal welfare in the spotlight after recent cruelty scandals in Australia.

All 24 horses appeared to return back safely, although Rostropovich was later found to be lame and was receiving veterinary treatment.

Jockey Craig Williams celebrates after his first Melbourne Cup victory
Jockey Craig Williams celebrates after his first Melbourne Cup victory

How the drama unfolded

Dettori, who first rode in the Flemington race 26 years ago when Master Of Reality’s trainer was just six months old, sensed this could be his chance to finally claim the AUS$8m (£4.3m) race.

The Italian-born jockey, who has ridden a personal record of 19 top-level Group One winners this year, was always handily placed and pushed his mount clear as the race developed in the final quarter-mile.

But just as Master Of Reality looked to have stolen the prize, Williams shot up the inside on Vow And Declare.

Meanwhile, Prince Of Arran came into contention and Il Paradiso finished with a late flourish under Wayne Lordan.

The pair were closing all the time before being checked as Dettori drifted to his left and Vow And Declare just managed to keep on for a narrow victory.

Full Melbourne Cup result

1 Vow And Declare 10-1 2 Prince Of Arran 16-1 3 Il Paridiso 14-1 4 Master Of Reality 25-1

(Master Of Reality demoted from second to fourth, Prince Of Arran promoted to third from second, Il Paradiso up to third)

5 Surprise Baby 6 Mer De Glace 7 Finche 8 Cross Counter 9 Steel Prince

10 Magic Wand 11 Twilight Payment 12 Sound 13 Constantinople 14 Mirage Dancer 15 Hunting Horn 16 Raymond Tusk

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