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Top 5 Melbourne Cup Moments Of The 21st Century

The Melbourne Cup is much more than just betting and fashion – in fact it is a race that, in tragedy or triumph, brings a nation together.

Here are 5 Melbourne Cup moments of the 21st century that had the entire nation on its feet.

2002 - Media Puzzle & Damien Oliver

After losing his brother in a riding accident just a week before the race, the 2002 Melbourne Cup would prove to be the most emotional and heart-wrenching rides of Damien Oliver’s career.

The crowd was deafening as Media Puzzle pulled away from Vinnie Roe down the straight, crossing the finish line first with Oliver pointing to the heavens in tribute to his brother Jason.

“Mate, Melbourne Cups don’t mean a thing to me anymore. I’d give it back right now to have my brother back. But I know it was the right thing to ride. Jason would have wanted that,” Oliver told the crowd with tears streaming down his face.

Not often has there been more raw emotion at any sporting event.

2005 - Makybe Diva & Glen Boss

“A champion becomes a legend.” Those five words perfectly sum up Makybe Diva and her historic Flemington hat-trick.

A mare loved by many, so much so that a crowd of over 100 locals gathered at Safety Beach in the week before the big race just to catch a glimpse of the horse. As trainer Lee Freedman wiped her down, a woman begged him for the towel, took it and vowed to frame it!

The 2005 Melbourne Cup was the Diva’s final race, and she did not disappoint. She was the first to cross the finish line with an easy lead and became the first horse to win the Melbourne Cup three times.

“Go and find the smallest child on the racecourse because he might be the only one to see it happen again,” trainer Lee Freedman said.

“I owe so much to her. She’s just given me the most incredible joy of my professional career. I’m sorry for crying, but this is a moment I’ll take to my grave,” said jockey Glen Boss.

2008 - Viewed & Blake Shinn

Bart Cummings is one of the most iconic names in Australian horse racing history. His last win was Viewed, who held off Bauer by a nose. The emotion made it one of the most memorable days at the track.

Viewed’s win ended a 10-year drought for the then 80-year-old and the normally unemotional trainer even appeared to wipe away a tear as he tried to take in the moment.

“Well I suppose it could be (a tear), yeah. These things can create that, but I do get a bit of hayfever you know,” Bart said in one of the great Melbourne Cup lines.

Viewed’s jockey Blake Shinn described Cummings “as a master”.

2011 – Dunaden & Christophe Lemaire

The Cup of 2011 produced the closest finish in the race's history, with Dunaden getting the decision ahead of Red Cadeaux.

The pair crossed the line locked together, and waited for what seemed an eternity before the judge found a margin in the French horse's favour.

Christophe Lemaire, who picked up the winning ride at the expense of the suspended Craig Williams, showed his relief returning to scale, while the Red Cadeaux team was devastated.

"I would have preferred to get beaten a half-length than like that. I know I'm on a 50-1 pop but it still hurts," jockey Michael Rodd said.

Red Cadeaux would go on to run in five Melbourne Cups, finishing second on three occasions (2011, 2013, 2014) before he suffered what was to be a fatal injury in 2015.

2015 – Prince of Penzance & Michelle Payne

The 2015 Melbourne Cup will always hold a significant place in the spring carnival history books. Since its first race in 1861, no female jockey had ever been the first to cross the finish line. Michelle Payne rode Prince of Penzance to victory, ahead of Max Dynamite and Criterion.

She was a $100-1 outside and was strapped by Payne’s brother, Stevie, who has Down Syndrome.

After describing racing as “such a chauvinistic sport”, Payne delivered an empowering message about women in sport.

“I want to say to everyone else, get stuffed, because they think women aren’t strong enough but we just beat the world.”

What's your favourite Melbourne Cup moment? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook.

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