Gold Trip thundered home down the final straight to win the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse by a length and a half from Emissary on Tuesday.
The six-year-old stallion trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace charged in front at the 300m mark to win a thrilling sprint to the final post in the gruelling two-mile handicap.
High Emocean, also trained by Maher and Eustace, placed third on a rain-softened track.
It was Mark Zahra's first victory in the "race that stops the nation", which has been held on the first Tuesday of November since 1876.
"I feel like crying. It's unbelievable. What a day," said an emotional Zahra after winning the A$8 million ($6 million) race.
Gold Trip defied a huge weight disadvantage (57.5kgs) on the field as Zahra kicked for home and went clear after the final turn, holding off the fast-finishing Emissary and High Emocean, who were carrying 6kg less than the winner.
"I feel like crying. It’s unbelievable. What a day," said winning jockey Mark Zahra.
"He’s a horse that when you go, you don’t give him a chance to think about it. I was hoping no one would come near me. It’s just elation when I crossed the line."
Favorite and English stayer Deauville Legend was fourth, and Realm of Flowers finished fifth.
The field was reduced to 22 after Point Nepean was scratched on Monday and Lunar Flare failed a veterinarian inspection on the morning of the race.
Crowds were limited to 10,000 last year because of Covid-19, but up to 10 times that number packed into the Melbourne track for the 2022 edition, despite chilly weather and frequent showers.
The Melbourne Cup ran after police were called to investigate alleged vandalism at Flemington in the early hours of Tuesday morning, with video on social media showing a hand-held hose discharging an oily, black substance onto the track.
The Nine Network said an unnamed person contacted the broadcaster and claimed responsibility for pouring the sludge as a "problem gambler" making a protest against the Victorian Racing Club.
The Victorian Racing Club runs the Melbourne Cup and other race meetings at Flemington.
Racecourse staff cleaned up the sludge around the 1,500m mark of the track and the Cup day races proceeded without incident.