Wed, Nov 07, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Efficient surges to Melbourne Cup win

AUSTRALIA'S RICHEST The four-year-old gelding stormed home, leaving English stayer Purple Moon in his wake as he won for the sixth time in 13 starts

AP , MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

Jockey Michael Rodd rides Efficient past the finish post to win the Melbourne Cup at Flemington racecourse in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

New Zealand-bred Efficient, ridden by Michael Rodd, won the Melbourne Cup by three-quarters of a length yesterday with a strong run in the final 100m in Australia's richest horse race at Flemington.

The win was the third Melbourne Cup for Efficient's owner, Melbourne businessman Lloyd Williams, who won previously with Just a Dash in 1981 and What a Nuisance in 1985.

English stayer Purple Moon was second and Irish-trained Mahler third in the 3,200m race that had 21 starters.

There were three late scratches in the A$5 million (US$4.6 million) race.

Master O'Reilly, which won the Caulfield Cup on Oct. 20, went off as favorite in the Melbourne Cup, but finished eighth.

Efficient, a four-year-old gelding, won for the sixth time in 13 starts.

"It's a great thrill -- it's a dream," Williams said. "I have horses that have run first and fourth which is very satisfying because I buy staying horses to try and win the Melbourne Cup."

Williams' other horse in the race, Zipping, came in fourth, the same position as in last year's race.

"Zipping's was a terrific run, but [Efficient] was favorite for the Melbourne Cup when the market was first put out," he said. "He drifted out because he put in a couple of bad runs, but there you are, we had some confidence in him."

Efficient was trained by New Zealand veteran Graeme Rogerson.

Australia's first outbreak of equine influenza affected overseas and out-of-state entries in the race, including the Japanese pair of Delta Blues and Pop Rock.

In an earlier race, Bay Story had to be euthanized when the six-year-old broke a hind leg 150m from the finish while in second place in the Long Black Handicap.

English trainer Brian Ellison had hoped to win a place in the Melbourne Cup with Bay Story, but ended up just outside the 24-horse limit.

Bay Story's jockey Mark Zahra was taken to hospital with a leg injury, forfeiting his Melbourne Cup ride on Scenic Shot, which finished 16th.

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