Verry Elleegant wins the Melbourne Cup

James Mcdonald riding #4 Verry Elleegant celebrates winning the Melbourne Cup. Picture: Getty Images
James Mcdonald riding #4 Verry Elleegant celebrates winning the Melbourne Cup. Picture: Getty Images

Verry Elleegant indeed. Although all champion jockey James McDonald wanted to do was swear, such was the emotion of his first Melbourne Cup victory.

Especially such a special race that stops the nation, providing a glimmer of hope for a nation and the state of Victoria - both emerging from the coronavirus crisis.

Verry Elleegant smashed the field to salute by four lengths from favourite Incentivise, with Spanish Mission third in front of 10,000 punters at Flemington on Tuesday.

For those in the sweeps, Ocean Billy was last.

First McDonald and trainer Chris Waller combined to climb The Everest - the mega-dollar Sydney sprint - now they've claimed Australia's biggest staying test.

Due to travel restrictions, Waller could only watch on from Sydney for his first Cup win.

McDonald was overwhelmed with the victory, a moment he never wanted to end.

"I can't believe it. When I went for home I - I don't know, I don't know what I was thinking actually, I was just thinking, 'Where's that post?'," ," he said on Channel 10.

"So much faith in that mare I just love her to bits. I'm speechless.

"I love her to bits. She's been so good to me. I can safely say she is a champion mare - 10 group 1s.

"She was relaxed the whole way. When I looked up about the 600m they were still just - I was blowing kisses to her the whole way.

"I don't know. I just can't believe what's happened. I never thought I'd ever win one. I always dreamed of winning one, but it's so hard to win.

"Dreams do come true. I love her to bits. I've been saying from Sunday onwards her fight and determination just takes her so far.

"I want to swear, I really do ... I just don't want this to end."

To make the win even more special he got to share it with his partner and former jockey Katelyn Mallyon.

She was on-track to celebrate in the immediate aftermath.

Mallyon rode in two Melbourne Cups herself and knows firsthand just how special riding in the race is - let alone winning it.

She had her doubts her partner could win - coming from one of the widest barriers in a field of 23.

"In barrier 19 I thought it was going to be really hard for her and him," Mallyon said.

"I watched her down the end of the straight and the way he just parked her perfectly, the mare just relaxed for him.

"I just can't believe we won a Melbourne Cup. It's every jockey's dream as you know.

"It's something we all dream of doing and I get to live my dream through my beautiful partner James.

"To do it on such a wonderful mare that means a lot to us and our family it's awesome. I can't believe it."

There was an early battle for the lead before Persan took control, with Incentivise sitting just outside.

The $2.90-favourite then took control going into the home straight, but couldn't hold on as Verry Elleegant stormed past.

McDonald was full of praise for the way Waller goes about his business. He's Australia's top trainer for a reason.

Waller's won the past 11 Sydney trainers' premierships and was known for his feats with champion mare Winx, who stormed to four consecutive Cox Plates in a glittering career.

"He just goes through his processes and makes sure every box is ticked," McDonald said.

"That's why he's as good as he is. I'm so lucky to be in his team and we have a lot of luck together. We know each other so well and when we get the horses like this...

"She was trained by a master. He gets them right, and she is a superstar. So proud of her."

This story Verry Elleegant wins the Melbourne Cup first appeared on The Canberra Times.