Americain wins Cup

Main Stories, Sports

OF the 150 stories about Melbourne Cup winners, few of them have started with “Allez”.
The French have now raided Flemington, winning the 150th Melbourne Cup with Americain spoiling the Bart Cummings and So You Think party to storm home and become the fourth northern hemisphere winner of Australia’s greatest race.
As jockey Gerald Mosse returned to the mounting yard and battled through the throng yesterday, he stopped and waved to a familiar shout of “Allez Gerald” from an unfamiliar voice in the crowd.
Mosse had just given Americain the perfect ride in the wet, following raging favourite So You Think as Cummings’ black stallion surged to the lead and looked poised to give the master trainer his 13th Melbourne Cup.
But with around 120 metres to go, the crowd’s throaty roar for So You Think became muted as Americain swept past him, with Maluckyday following in his wake, leaving the shortest priced Cup favourite in 40 years to finish third.
“I pressed the button at the right time,” Mosse said.
“I knew 200 metres out he (Americain) was going to answer, he was going to catch him.”
A downpour just before the start gave the already wet track a good final soaking which suited the six-year-old stallion – but it did not do much for the crowd of 110,223.
Mosse and trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre, who has twice won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, said the atmosphere and crowds of the Melbourne Cup were the best they had seen and would not be surprised if Americain sparked a future French charge at the race.
But he’s not an entirely French connection – Americain reflects the international nature of the Melbourne Cup.
American-bred, French-trained, Australian-owned and ridden by a Hong Kong-based French jockey, Americain joins Vintage Crop, Media Puzzle and Delta Blues as northern hemisphere raiders to take the Cup.
But at least the 150th Melbourne Cup will be staying in Australia.
Bought by Melbourne caravan tycoon Gerry Ryan and his friend Kevin Bamford for a bargain A$225,000 in February because he had already qualified for the Cup and his value had dropped after poor form in the US, Americain’s victory was more than they had hoped for. “We bought him to run in the Melbourne Cup, not to win the Melbourne Cup, to run in it,” Ryan, who was just wanting to enjoy the experience of having a Cup runner said.
For a generous sports benefactor, Americain has given Ryan a buoyant end to a trying year in which the AFL club he sponsors, St Kilda, lost their second successive grand final, and his NRL beneficiary Melbourne Storm were stripped of their 2007 and 2009 premierships because of salary cap rorts.
“It’s a great way to finish the year,” he said, but still with confidence in his football clubs.
“St Kilda will win a premiership and the Storm will get back their cups,” he said.
And a gracious Cummings will have to wait another year to claim his 13th Melbourne Cup.
“The best horse won on the day and he (So You Think) gave it a good try.”