The Melbourne Cup in pictures: Prince of Penzance pulls off a shock

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The Race That Stops a Nation was that and much more at Flemington in the early hours of Tuesday morning, as Michelle Payne became the first female to land the Melbourne Cup on board Prince of Penzance.

As always, the Victoria track was filled to the rafters to witness the A$6m contest over two miles.

It was a day however with one or two lows to go alongside the copious highs.

Here is your round-up of the day in pictures….

Preparations began well in advance to ensure the Flemington turf was in pristine condition…

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But soon those famous gates were opened…

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And the crowds began to filter in…

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There was plenty of time for celebrity spotting. From tennis ace Lleyton Hewitt and his wife…

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To French DJ David Guetta….

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As usual at these big meetings, fashion was at the fore, with a number of intriguing hat designs…

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But with the action on the track blitzing through the supporting card, soon it was the turn of the big one.

And in light of the recent death of trainer Bart Cummings, an unprecedented 12-time winner of the race, there was a poignant atmosphere in some areas of the crowd…

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Family of the legendary handler were on hand to deliver the trophy…

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Soon the jockeys began to filter into the parade ring, and if anyone was going to be cracking the jokes it would be Frankie Dettori…

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Soon, the horses began the loading process ahead of Australia’s biggest horse race…

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Before you could blink, they were off…

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Jamie Spencer and Big Orange (the eventual fifth) led them on their way…

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And after a full lap of the pear-shaped track, the field turned into the home straight for the final time…

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The crowd cheered them home, but very few would surely have backed the 100/1 Prince of Penzance…

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But as push came to shove, it was Payne on board the rank outsider of the field that managed to get their heads in front when it mattered…

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Scenes of jubilation erupted in the paddock amongst connections…

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As Payne and her victorious mount were lead back in….

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Back out on the track though, there were scenes of desperation.

Ed Dunlop’s popular chestnut Red Cadeaux, a Melbourne Cup stalwart having finished second in the race three times broke down in the final furlong. Jockey Gerald Mosse clearly feared the worst…

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Thankfully though, the nine-year-old was able to walk into the horse ambulance, and while retirement beckons, all the signs suggest he will be OK…

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Back in the winner’s enclosure, the presentation ceremony was in full swing, as the winners received the trophy….

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And the triumphant gelding got a well-earned cool down….

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Jockey Payne was able to revel in the knowledge that she had made history by winning the race…

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While she reflected, for some, the big occasion (and presumably copious amounts of alcohol) was too much to take.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.