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Twilight Payment wins Melbourne Cup for Ireland

By Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer
The Melbourne Cup is known as the "race that stops the nation," much like the Kentucky Derby in the United States (shown). File Photo by John Sommers II/UPI
The Melbourne Cup is known as the "race that stops the nation," much like the Kentucky Derby in the United States (shown). File Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Irish raider Twilight Payment jumped straight to the lead in Tuesday's Group 1 Lexus Melbourne Cup, "the race that stops the nation," and held the advantage to the end, barely holding off another Irish runner, Tiger Moth.

England's Prince of Arran was running best of all in the final, 100 yards but had too much to make up and settled for third.

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Twilight Payment, a 7-year-old gelding by Teofilo, was 11th in last year's Melbourne Cup, but benefitted this time by the decision of trainer Joseph Patrick O'Brien to try to steal the race on the lead.

The tactic was a bold one as the 2-mile race seldom goes to the early leaders. But jockey Jye McNeil, having his first start in Australia's signature race, wasted no time putting the plan into action.

"It was the plan to go forward," McNeil said. "There's some pressure in getting it right. I was confident."

"I was trying to think to not use the whip too many times. "I was trying to use my voice to encourage him as much as possible to hang on, and he was very tough."

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The Flemington stewards have been aggressive during the Melbourne Cup meeting in enforcement of strict rules regarding the use of the whip, handing out lengthy suspensions and stiff fines to violators.

After last year's Melbourne Cup effort, Twilight Payment ventured to the Middle East, where he finished seventh in the Longines Turf Handicap on the Saudi Cup undercard, a race in which Prince of Arran was third. He won a Group 3 and a Group 2 back home in Ireland before finishing third in the Group 1 Irish St. Leger at the Curragh.

Tiger Moth, trained by Joseph Patrick's father, Aidan O'Brien, is a 3-year-old Galileo colt. He was second in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby this summer and making only his fifth career start in the Melbourne Cup. Prince of Arran, trained by Charlie Fellowes, was second in last year's Melbourne Cup and third the year before.

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