AUSTRALIAN flat racing has taken a few knocks in recent months, with raiders from Japan, Ireland and Britain plundering some of the country’s major races. But there is no race as major as the Melbourne Cup, which stayed at home this year, courtesy of Vow And Declare, a 116-rated performer who got in off a light weight.

He owed his win in no small part to a fine ride from Craig Williams, who got his mount across from a wide draw to a prominent position in a race in which there was very little pace. Vow And Declare looked held for much of the straight but rallied gamely to edge out Master Of Reality (demoted to fourth), Prince of Arran and Il Paradiso.