Star sprinter Whiskey Riot broke a Group 1 jinx – and raced into greatness – taking out tonight’s Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup (515m) at Sandown Park.
Whiskey Riot capitalised on another crack at G1 glory, having finished second to his nemesis Hooked On Scotch in the Adelaide Cup, second to Sennachie in the Maturity Classic, and third to Get It Gizmo in the Topgun. He was also third to Hooked On Scotch in the G3 Shootout.
Based at Rowsley (just out of Bacchus Marsh), his trainer Anthony Azzopardi was lost for words: “Unbelievable. I didn’t know if he won or not. Words can’t describe it. This is what I’ve been working my whole life for. Words can’t describe it,” he said.
Azzopardi also dedicated the win to his late father: “This is a whole family thing. This is for my father. I wish he was here but he’s not. But I know he’ll be watching down.”
Whiskey Riot ($5.90) led throughout to defeat outsider Western Envoy ($30.80) by just under a length, with Hooked On Scotch ($2.10F) – who broke the track record in a heat – around a half-length away third in 29.44sec.
It was his 17th win from 35 starts, and the $435,000 first prize catapulted his stakes to $619,685.
Whiskey Riot is only the eighth winner from box three in 64 runnings of the Cup, and the first since City Blitz in 1995.
He also continued the tradition of the Melbourne Cup being a leader’s race. Since 2010, Dyna Double One is the only winner that didn’t lead through the first turn.
Azzopardi finally triumphed with his third finalist in the sport’s ‘Holy Grail’. He finished fifth with Raw Ability in 2017 and sixth with Zambora Brockie in 2016.
His sire, Fernando Bale, finished second in the 2015 Melbourne Cup.
2019 TAB Melbourne Cup
WATCH: It was only hours ago that Whiskey Riot won his name into the history books by winning the 2019 TAB Melbourne Cup. Sit back and enjoy a night that trainer Anthony Azzopardi will never forget.
WATCH: Whiskey Riot (3) found the early lead and refused to crumble under pressure from Western Envoy (5) in the TAB Melbourne Cup.
What an amazing community! Take a look at @AzzopardiRacing's reaction to Whiskey Riot's win in #TABMelbourneCup @sandowndogs... & then it's hugs and kisses all around! We also caught @Jason4dams' interview with him immediately after - this is what it's all about! @WatchDogRacing pic.twitter.com/Ed83lQq3xE— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) November 29, 2019
FEATURED PHOTO: Whiskey Riot (3) holds off Western Envoy in a thrilling 2019 TAB Melbourne Cup. Photo by: Clint Anderson.