Australia's Vow and Declare wins Melbourne Cup thriller

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Jockey Craig Williams on Vow and Declare wins the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday. AFP

Australian gelding Vow and Declare won the coveted A$8 million (US$5.5 million) Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday as revelations about the grim fate of retired racehorses were put to one side as punters streamed through the turnstiles.

With veteran jockey Craig Williams in the saddle, the four-year-old ended a decade of international domination in a thrilling finish to edge out Prince of Arran, Il Paradiso and Master of Reality in a thrilling finish to the famous 3,200m (two mile) "Race that stops a nation".

Twilight Payment set the pace until the Danny O'Brien-trained Vow and Declare got up on the line to upset a field packed with overseas runners and containing only two Australian-bred horses.

Master of Reality, ridden by Frankie Dettori, crossed the line second in a photo finish ahead of British raider Prince of Arran and American stallion Il Paradiso.

But a stewards' protest over interference by Dettori in the final 100m was upheld with Prince of Arran elevated to second, Il Paradiso to third and Master of Reality relegated to fourth.