Hong Kong’s pre-race favourite Romantic Warrior has won an epic Cox Plate by a nose in a thrilling photo finish.
Mr. Brightside was just centimetres behind in one of the greatest finishes to a Cox Plate in history, with Alligator Blood rounding out the top three.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Romantic Warrior wins epic Cox Plate.
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Champion Australian jockey gave it a perfect ride for Chinese trainer Danny Shum, with Romantic Warrior lunging for the line after an enthralling battle at Moonee Valley.
“McDonald’s done it! The genius of James McDonald — he’s produced a win for the world. He’s produced it for the whole racing world,” Seven racing commentator Bruce McAvaney said after the race.
“Hong Kong comes to the Valley and wins the Cox Plate.
“McDonald produces a ride for the ages. It was an extraordinary finish — it had everything.
“It was the most magnificent final 200m that you could imagine.”
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Romantic Warrior wins the race by a nose. Credit: Seven
McDonald becomes just the seventh jockey to win the Cox Plate on different horses in back-to-back years, having done it on Anamoe last year.
McAvaney sat in commentary alongside McDonald’s wife, Katie, who was in tears live on air.
“I’m shaking, Bruce, I can’t believe it,” she uttered through sheer shock and excitement.
Speaking to Seven after the race, McDonald said he feared the worst at the line, having held a slender lead for the last 100m.
James McDonald couldn’t believe it after the epic race. Credit: Scott Barbour/Racing Photos via Getty Images
“I thought it got beat. When the camera didn’t follow me …” he said.
“This means so much, I’ve got so much faith in this horse.
“I can’t believe we won a Cox Plate. It means so much. I’ve had so much to do with him, I’ve been singing his praises with how much he could improve.
“We won the Cox Plate, baby! I can’t believe it.”
Shum was speechless speaking to Jason Richardson in the aftermath.
“I’m very happy, I don’t know how to tell you how happy I am, but I’m very, very happy,” he said.
Cox Plate full results:
Romantic WarriorMr. BrightsideAlligator BloodDuaisGold TripZaakiFangirlMilitarizeVictoria RoadMy OberonPinstripedKing Colorado
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