Bob Hawke was nonplussed. He’d just gotten off a typically eloquent speech in front of a claque of media, and no-one had a question for him.
Rekindling has won the 2017 Melbourne cup in a thrilling three-horse finish that saw the Lloyd Williams-owned horse take it at the post by half a length over Johannes Vermeer.
More 2017 Melbourne Cup
» Who came last
» Complete finishing order
» Watch video highlights replay
» Re-live the race with our live blog
» Regal Monarch’s horror fall
» Winning trifecta and quinella
» Winning exact and first four
A strong field led most of the way by Caulfield Cup winner Boom Time was absolutely blitzed coming around the final turn with the aforementioned Rekindling and Johannes Vermeer being joined by Max Dynamite out front at the end.
Cismontane took the pace at the front across the back straight but was completely swamped as the field came around.
Max Dynamite tried to jump early and make the move but just couldn’t hold on along the rail inside the final 50 metres.
Rekindling and Johannes Vermeer were fighting neck and neck with shades of last year’s nose-to-nose finish.
It was Rekindling who got up to the nose and took the final 30 metres of the 2-mile run to push ahead and confirm the surprise win as an outside chance.
He left enough in the legs with a smart run tucked in the field across the back and around the first turn, timing the jump well to keep with the lead of Max Dynamite and push through the centre.
Rekindling had the galloping room through the middle to push past and sneak his head in front at the post to take the historic win.
Pre-race favourites Marmelo and Almandin were positioned well through the 2-mile dash across the back straight but were engulfed and caught in traffic when the time to jump came.
Neither able to move across to the outside and create the room needed to follow the leading movers.
It was a three-horse affair with 200 metres to go as the rest of the field were left wondering where the race had gone.
Gallante came through in last place as one of the longer-priced runners leading into the race.
Rekindling creates history as the first 3-year-old to win the Cup in 76 years since Skipton in 1941.
Big Duke came through as the best of the rest to round out the first four, an unlikely one at that leading into the race.
It’s back-to-back wins for owner Lloyd Williams who only came back to Flemington last year and has now taken six wins in the iconic race.