True Self (Image: Racing Photos)
Melbourne Cup week is truly an international event, as True Self's victory highlighted in Saturday's $300,000 Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m).
True Self, a six-year-old Irish mare bought for jumping, won for Irish trainer Willie Mullins and England's champion flat rider Ryan Moore, while among his ownership was Londoner Andy Gemmell.
Gemmell and Mullins are no strangers to Australia. Gemmell, who has been blind since birth, was at Flemington when Doriemus completed the Cups double in 1995 and part-owned the Ed Dunlop-trained Melbourne Cup runner Trip To Paris.
He also regularly attends the Australian Open tennis during January in Melbourne if he isn't back at home, monitoring the progress of his string of jumps horses raced under the Paisley Park banner trained by Emma Lavelle.
"It was really good, it's great to come here and to have a winner is a real bonus," Gemmell said.
"It's the thrill and excitement of it all, I've always loved coming here for years now."
When asked what it was like listening to Matt Hill's broadcast of True Self's victory, Gemmell replied: "It was excellent, very exciting."
WATCH: True Self's win
Willie Mullins has been coming to Melbourne since 'cleaning up' on the punt when countryman Dermot Weld-trained Vintage Crop won the 1993 Melbourne Cup.
"I was here with a friend travelling, and I think we got around 16/1, I've had good memories of Melbourne all the time," Mullins said.
Mullins has made several trips since but it was True Self who provided the 63-year-old trainer with his first Australian success.
"A winner is always better than finishing fifth or sixth in the Melbourne Cup," Mullins said.
True Self narrowly missed out on entry into Tuesday's $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) after finishing second to Prince Of Arran, subsequent Lexus Melbourne Cup runner-up, in last month's Geelong Cup.
Connections earned a bonus of $200,000 from Racing Victoria after being balloted out of the Lexus Melbourne Cup and winning the Queen Elizabeth as well as the first prizemoney of $180,000.
"She's improving, it's extraordinary. She's six years of age but she was jumping out of her skin," Mullins said.
"My son bought her out of a bumper (race) in England for jumping and she arrived in my yard and I took one look at her and said, 'I hope you don't own that'.
"And here we are now, we've brought her down and she's given us a winner - it's extraordinary.
"I never dreamt she'd be a flat mare and I don't think anybody did at a time."