Gold Trip has stormed home to win the 2022 Melbourne Cup at Flemington in a gut-busting, furious sprint to the finish line with jockey Mark Zahra delivering a hilarious X-rated spray at his rival jockeys as he crossed the line.
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained import ran a close second at the Caulfield Cup and went one better to claim Australia’s greatest race – despite carrying 2kg more weight than any other horse in the field.
Mark Zahra made up for losing his ride on last year’s Melbourne Cup winner by steering Gold Trip to a sensational win at Flemington
It was also redemption for Zahra who was forced to sit back and watch his ride Verry Elleegant win the Melbourne Cup while he sat out after being suspended for breaches of Covid regulations.
‘Twelve months ago I felt terrible and [was] probably drinking my way out of it,’ he admitted.
‘[My wife] was saying don’t drink too much, I said, “What do you want me to do? My horse just won the Melbourne Cup”.
‘For today, to come today … it’s unbelievable.’
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He admitted the final stages as Gold Trip flew down the home stretch were nerve-wracking.
‘[I was thinking] just p*** off, no one come near me,’ he said.
‘The last 50 metres I was thinking, I’m going to win this. It just went forever, the last bit. And I still can’t believe it. Melbourne Cup, it’s unbelievable.’
Maher has now completed a career sweep of the Melbourne spring carnival’s most important races.
He trained Jameka to win the 2016 Caulfield Cup and teamed up with Eustace for Cox Plate glory in 2020.
Zahra’s excited wife Elyse was quick to jump into the celebrations as well, shrieking in victory and proclaiming: ‘We’re not doing seconds anymore, he said this week. No more seconds!’
Zahra and his wife Elyse celebrate by holding aloft the famed Melbourne Cup in a day to remember for their family
Co-trainer David Eustace said it was redemption for the whole team that were left ‘gutted’ after the Caulfield Cup heartbreak.
‘This horse who was so unlucky in the Caulfield Cup and so gutted when he got beat. And I thought he would get beat again. It’s just quite incredible,’ he said.
It was a furious finish after several riders broke from the pack for a sprint down the stretch with Gold Trip emerging the victor
Mark Zahra riding Gold Trip celebrates with spectators after a redemption ride for both the jockey and the horse in the Melbourne Cup
Gold Trip emerged with the best turn of pace at the end of the endurance race to win by over two lengths ahead of Emissary and High Emocean with favourite Deauville Legend failing to make the placings.
Jockey Mark Zahra said he just let Gold Trip go down the stretch and struggled to put the emotion of the win into words.
‘I can’t. I feel like crying. It’s unbelievable. What a day,’ he said.
2022 Melbourne Cup Finishing Order
Mark Zahra rides Gold Trip to glory
1st — Gold Trip
2nd — Emissary
3rd — High Emocean
4th — Deauville Legend
5th — Realm Of Flowers
6th — Daqiansweet Junior
7th — Smokin’ Romans
8th — Stockman
9th — Knights Order
10th — Vow And Declare
11th — Arapaho
12th — Hoo Ya Mal
13th — Without A Fight
14th — Grand Promenade
15th — Young Werther
16th — Montefila
17th — Tralee Rose
18th — Duais
19th — Numerian
20th — Serpentine
21th — Camorra
Failed to finish: Interpretation
‘He’s a horse that when you go, you don’t give him a chance to think about it. I was hoping no-one would come near he. It’s just elation when I crossed the line,’ he said.
‘Mum used to give us the day off so I could watch it. It’s surreal.
‘My wife is here. And all the folks back in Western Australia, what an amazing feeling.’
There was redemption for the jockey as well, with Zahra forced to sit out the last Melbourne Cup through suspension.
‘This time last year in Byron Bay and I was getting told off for drinking too much and it could have been my ride. Redemption day today. Just a miracle,’ he said.
Trainer Ciaron Maher said it was a ‘fantastic effort’ from the whole team to prep the horse for the perfect race on Melbourne Cup day.
‘This horse is quite dicey and he’s done a fantastic job. And to run in three of the big ones and have him present in the Cup like that was fantastic,’ he said.
‘We had a plan going out, Mark. He was very good on him in the Caulfield Cup. We just wanted to wait, wait, wait and we know he got that good turn of foot. He was fantastic.’
One of Maher and Eustace’s other runners in the race Intepretation was pulled out of the race a long way from home while Serpentine and Camorra could only walk over the line.
There could be fines or potential suspensions in the washup to the race as well, with Channel 10 reporting claims of interference.
‘There was a little bit of interference. Following up on a few of the other runners in the race, we’re hearing that Interpretation, who was eased out of the race early, has pulled up OK and they will obviously be testing the horse to see that he is fine to continue on, but came back into the mounting yard and walked down to the stripping sheds A-OK as well,’ a Channel 10 commentator said.
‘I think Damien Lane might be in trouble with the stewards a little later as well.
The Age’s Damien Ratcliffe said that Intepretation was pulled from the race because of high winds.
How much did you win? Melbourne Cup SuperTAB tote prices
1st: Gold Trip $19.40, $5.80
2nd: Emissary $7.40
3rd: High Emocean $9
First Four $102,785
‘So far, it appears all 22 horses have safely competed in this year’s Melbourne Cup, Interpretation did not finish but appears a wind issue, action looks fine according to a Maher Eustace rep. Camorra didn’t handle conditions,’ he wrote.
Earlier on race day, a self-admitted ‘problem gambler’ broke into Flemington racecourse to pour an oily substance on the track.
Alarming footage showed at least two people running onto the famous track at about 6am on Tuesday to spray a dark liquid over the course in apparent protest against the Victoria Racing Club.
The substance has not officially been identified but was labelled ‘oily’. One person has surrendered themselves to police.
The VRC confirmed officials cleaned a section of the track around the 1500 mark on Tuesday morning and said it was safe for the race to continue.
A statement issued by the protester cited as motivation the building of a wall which was designed to keep potential floodwaters from the neighbouring Maribyrnong River from getting into the racecourse and damaging the turf.
Some local residents had been angered by the construction of the wall, saying it diverted water toward their homes and increased the likelihood of future floodwaters inundating their streets.
Later on race day, climate change protesters descended on the Cup, using a van to block a main road outside the track while they stood on its roof and screamed at punters.
Melbourne Cup track sabotage chaos: Self-confessed problem gambler breaks into Flemington at 6am and pours an unknown oily substance onto the track
Dramatic image of the oily substance being sprayed all over the track at Flemington that could have put the Melbourne Cup in doubt
Protesters on the roof were filmed by a fellow activist yelling at people walking into Flemington Racecourse.
‘Eat your pheasant, drink your wine, your days are numbered, bourgeois swine,’ the protester on the roof could be heard yelling.