Purple Moon was prevented from recording a historic Melbourne Cup win when the 20-1 chance Efficient bounced back to winning form to deny the Newmarket challenger in the dying strides at Flemington yesterday.
Luca Cumani's four-year-old looked poised to claim a first British win in the Australian feature when hitting the front just over a furlong out, but the Graeme Rogerson-trained winner came with a late run under Michael Rodd to win by half a length. Aidan O'Brien's Mahler kept on for third.
Cumani said he had never been confident of lifting the prize despite Purple Moon being two lengths clear coming into the final furlong. "I could see the grey horse coming down the outside. I was just hoping his run had peaked. I wish he had found form next week."
Rodd, who was landing the biggest success of his career, said: "I just won the Melbourne Cup – this is just unbelievable, to do it on this little horse."
Darryll Holland set the pace on the Amanda Perrett-trained Tungsten Strike, tracked by Mahler, who pulled clear turning for home when Damien Oliver was just starting to get serious with Purple Moon, who had travelled well in the chasing pack.