EBOR winner Heartbreak City lived up to his name when being denied Emirates Melbourne Cup glory by Almandin in a head-bobbing finish to Austalia’s premier race.
However, trainer Tony Martin is already plotting a return Down Under for the so-called ‘race that stops a nation’ next year after the six-year-old gelding did brilliantly well to even get in contention from an almost impossibly wide draw in the 24-runner race.
In many respects, this was even more impressive than the horse’s win at York under Malton-based crack conditional Adam McNamara.
“The emotions were very high,” said County Meath-based Martin. “I gave him all the pushing and shoving I could from the stands, but, unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.
“Everything went to plan, everything was great, it’s just a pity we didn’t have somebody to tow us into the straight a little bit further.
“Other than that, everything went well – I couldn’t be happier. If we have to lock him up until next year, he’s coming back here next year, all being well.”
Heartbreak City’s Brazilian-born rider Joao Moreira chose to focus upon the many positives after his mount, and Almandin, pulled well clear of the eventual third Hartnell, previously trained by Mark Johnston in Middleham. The rider said: “He was giving the best of himself for a long way. You can’t be disappointed.”
Almandin was a second Cup triumph for both jockey Kerrin McEvoy, whose sister-in-law is 2015 heroine Michelle Payne, and trainer Robert Hickmott with a second taste of Melbourne Cup glory while joint-owner Lloyd Williams was claiming a fifth win.
McEvoy, victorious on Brew in 2000, said: “How lucky am I? The elation is unreal.”
Meanwhile, Frederik Tylicki – champion apprentice in 2009 when based with Malton’s Richard Fahey – remains in a stable condition in intensive care following a horrific four-horse pile-up at Kempton on Monday.
The 30-year-old has spinal injuries, though champion jockey Jim Crowley was discharged from hospital with nothing worse than a broken nose. He says he feels like he has boxed six rounds with top heavyweight Anthony Joshua.
In other racing news, Sir Valentino just pipped Garde La Victoire in an exciting finish to the 188Bet Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter, cementing Irish rider Adrian Heskin’s new position as stable jockey to Tom George.