Saturday 3 December 2016

Tony Martin proud as Heartbreak City succumbs to Almandin in Melbourne Cup

Published 01/11/2016 | 07:21

Tony Martin
Tony Martin

Tony Martin is already plotting a return to Australia next year after Heartbreak City was agonisingly denied by Almandin in the Emirates Melbourne Cup.

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The County Meath handler was proud in defeat after the six-year-old gelding, winner of the Ebor at York in the summer, came so close in the big race at Flemington.

But Martin now wants to attempt to go one place better in 2017 with a horse who did brilliantly well to even get in contention from a wide draw in stall 23.

He said: "The emotions were very high. 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."

Jockey Joao Moreira chose to focus upon the many positives after Heartbreak City turned in such a gallant display.

The rider said: "He tried 120 per cent and I'm very proud of the horse.

"He was giving the best of himself for a long way. You can't be disappointed with his run."

Godolphin runner Secret Number, trained in Newmarket by Saeed bin Suroor, and Excess Knowledge jousted for the lead for a long way in what was a truly-run renewal of the two-mile affair.

The latter still held a slight advantage two furlongs from home, but Heartbreak City was soon on top of that rival and darted into the lead from off the pace.

A cut-and-thrust finale ensued, but Almandin found that little bit extra to provide both jockey Kerrin McEvoy and trainer Robert Hickmott with a second taste of Melbourne Cup glory.

Joint- owner Lloyd Williams is a ubiquitous presence upon the winner's podium and was claiming a fifth victory in the "race that stops a nation".

McEvoy, who won the Melbourne Cup with Brew in 2000, said: "How lucky am I? The elation is unreal.

"He has been well prepared and he travelled well.

"All we needed was a good run. The more I looked at it before the race, the more confident I got.

"It's a great buzz to get the job done. He's a great little horse.

"He's had his troubles along the way, but he's been very well handled. It's a dream come true. I love the Melbourne Cup."

Bondi Beach was never a factor, while fellow Irish challenger Wicklow Brave expended a lot of early energy by getting across from stall 24 and beat just two horses home.

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