‘Robbed’: Australia reacts to Cup farce
IT was the race that robbed a nation - or so people were saying after Il Paradiso was prevented from making a late dash at victory in the Melbourne Cup by friendly fire.
Jockey Wayne Lordan was charging home behind eventual winner Vow and Declare when Master of Reality, ridden by veteran hoop Frankie Dettori, began veering in its path.
It left Il Paradiso with nowhere to go and he was squeezed back to fourth behind Prince Of Arran. That was until race stewards protested Dettori's movement and punted him to fourth.
This is how everyone reacted to the controversy.
WHAT THE JOCKEYS SAID
Dettori was a jockey on a mission as he sought to end a Melbourne Cup hoodoo that spans more than 25 years.
Having ridden in Australia's most famous race 17 times, with his best results seconds aboard Central Park (1999) and Max Dynamite (2015), one of the world's most celebrated jockeys was desperate to add the Melbourne Cup to his resume.
Instead he added another disappointing chapter before insisting Il Paradiso still had room to move.
"He was going left. I put both hands on the rein and straightened him up. They had plenty of room to move through," Dettori said.
"I want to cry."
This is Frankie Dettori's thing. I assume he drives a Volvo too #MelbourneCup— Simon McLoughlin (@simmomac) November 5, 2019
Given Aidan O'Brien trains Il Paradiso and his son, Joseph, trains Master of Reality, Lordan was never going to come out swinging against a stablemate and he attempted to defend Dettori.
"I didn't have to stop riding," he said of the contact. "It was very close at the line. I didn't know how much of a difference it made. We have got tight, but I honestly don't know how much of a difference it made.
"It was very close to the line. My horse didn't back out of it. He's a very tough horse and he kept running through it."
Joseph O'Brien added: "The horse ran a fantastic race, Frankie gave him a perfect ride, but that's horse racing.
"We're gutted but we're looking forward to next year.
"I'm more gutted for Frankie than I am for myself. I'll be back.
"I don't know if Frankie is ever going to win this race."
WHAT THE PUNTERS SAID
Il Paradiso robbed— Jye Bolton (@JyeBolton) November 5, 2019
The Australian digital editor Daniel Sankey was adamant Il Paradiso was crippled by the interference, tweeting he "should've won the race".
"If Dettori doesn't lay in; Il Paradiso beats them both in my opinion," added another punter.
WHAT IT COST
The difference in prize money between second and fourth is $750,000, which is sure to hurt the connections of Master of Reality.
It was a mixed bag for punters.
One bettor was laughing all the way to the bank at the late switch.
The punter placed a $10 straight first four with Sportsbet, requiring Vow And Declare to win, Prince Of Arran to run second, Il Paradiso to run third and Master Of Reality to run fourth.
It would have been a nervous 20 minutes while stewards deliberated, but with the decision to uphold their own protest, the punter collected close to $800,000 for his investment.
"Safe to say our punter would've been incredibly happy with Frankie Dettori's aggressive ride, this is the modern day rags to riches story," Sportsbet.com.au's Rich Hummerston said.
Some bookmakers were paying out on place bets for both Il Paradiso and Master of Reality, but not the TAB, costing one punter who had $7000 on Master of Reality for a place at $7.25 about $50,000.
Not such a great run, it would seem. Dettori buggers up another #MelbourneCup run.— Caleb Bond (@TheCalebBond) November 5, 2019
Il Paradiso and connections can consider themselves very unlucky.— Joshua Reed (@JoshuaReed22) November 5, 2019
Il Paradiso gets murdered in that head on footage— Matt Parker (@zoonmattau) November 5, 2019
I've had some tough beats, but Il Paradiso is up there with the worst of them 😭— Tim's Tips (@Tim_Tips) November 5, 2019