Champion Australian mare Makybe Diva rewrote Melbourne Cup history and made light of rainswept conditions to clinch back-to-back wins in the country's greatest horse race yesterday.
Makybe Diva became the first mare to claim the Cup twice in its 143-year history and established a weight-carrying record for a mare in the 3,200m race of 55.5kg at Flemington.
The 5-2 favorite, ridden by Glen Boss and giving trainer Lee Freedman his fourth Cup, flashed through along the rail about 200m from home to hold off champion Irish stayer Vinnie Roe (5-1) and land the US$3.3 million Cup.
Makybe Diva became the fifth horse to twice win the Melbourne Cup, after Archer (1861 and 1862), Peter Pan (1932 and 1934), Rain Lover (1968 and 1969) and Think Big (1974 and 1975).
Vinnie Roe, attempting to give Irish trainer Dermot Weld his third win in the Melbourne Cup after previous wins by Vintage Crop and Media Puzzle, was pulling ground off Makybe Diva nearing the post but the gallant mare held on to a one-and-a-quarter length winning margin in the wet conditions.
Freedman said he had a strong feeling that Makybe Diva would win the race.
"It was like having a present under the tree and I couldn't open it until after the race," he said.
"To take her over from [Hong Kong-based trainer] David Hall and to repeat it, and to break history to have to do it, is an amazing thing -- it's the greatest feeling.
"I'm just lucky that I'm here today to be able to enjoy it and having won my fourth Melbourne Cup," he said.
Outsider Zazzman (100-1), who was up with the leading bunch midway through the race, was third a further two-and-a-half lengths away.
Makybe Diva was carrying 4.5kg more this year after her triumph last year, but she was sent out the favorite ahead of Vinnie Roe, who firmed as the rain tumbled down. They were the only two runners under double-figures in the betting.
She remains unbeaten after three runs over 3200m -- two Melbourne Cups and a Sydney Cup.
Winning jockey Glen Boss stuck to the rail and extricated Makybe Diva into the clear after being in eighth place at the 800m.
Approaching the home turn he was presented a dream run on the inside and Makybe Diva accelerated to the front inside the 200m to open up a winning break over Vinnie Roe.