The $6.2 million (Australian) Emirates Melbourne Cup (G1), contested at 3200 meters (2 miles) under handicap weights, is known as the race that stops a nation, and celebrated its 151st renewal this year. Originally a full field of 24 was drawn but with Mourayan scratched, 23 loaded into the gate on the first Tuesday in November at Flemington Racecourse before over 100,000 fans under dark overcast skies. As expected, defending champion Americain was sent off as the 4-1 favorite over fellow French invader Dunaden at 15-2, winner of the Geelong Cup last out, and top local hope Niwot at 8-1, off his third place effort in the Lexus Stakes at Flemington.
20-1 shot Illo went to the front first time past the stands under jockey Jim Cassidy, and he led for the first 1 1/2 miles while being stalked by 14-1 Jukebox Jury, 100-1 The Verminator, 50-1 Precedence, and 9-1 At First Sight. Illo stubbornly led the field into the stretch, but the fast pace battle took its toll setting the race up for the closers. 12-1 Lucas Cranach, mid-pack early, came through to take the lead at the 1/4 pole, before being passed by Dunaden. 30-1 Red Cadeaux, well back early, closed with a rush down the center of the course, as he and Dunaden hit the line together. The photo determined that Dunaden held on by a nose, completing the trip in 3:20.84 over the good turf course. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Lucas Cranach third, and a neck more to favorite Americain fourth.