Melbourne Cup: Vow and Declare wins Australia's most prestigious horse race

    Craig Williams celebrates after riding Vow And Declare to win the 2019 Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

    (CNN)Vow and Declare has won Australia's most prestigious horse race, the Melbourne Cup, giving Australian jockey Craig Williams his first win at the event in 17 attempts.

    The Australian-bred horse saw off rivals in a field of 24 to take the Cup, at the annual blockbuster event at Flemington Racecourse.
    Trained by Danny O'Brien, Vow and Declare gave Australia a much longed for victory at the 3,200-meter (1.98 mile) race after a decade of foreign winners.
      Williams and O'Brien take the top prize of AU$4.4 million ($3 million), according to News.com.au. Total prize money, including trophies, came to a record AU$8 million ($5.5 million) this year.
      Always held on the first Tuesday of November, the Melbourne Cup is one of the world's most revered races and the highlight of a week-long carnival of racing, fashion, food and culture.

      Disputed finish

      This year's race ended in dramatic fashion following a dispute over the second and third spots resulting in a change in order after an initial photo finish.
      A protest lodged against Master of Reality jockey Frankie Dettori alleged that he blocked fourth-place Il Paradiso in the final 200 meters (218 yards). Stewards upheld the protest, meaning Master of Reality was pushed down to fourth place, with third place finisher Prince of Arran promoted to second and Il Paradiso taking third.
      Italian Dettori, 48, who was banned for eight race days in Victoria, has never won the Melbourne Cup in an otherwise glittering career.
      "I feel like crying," he told reporters at Flemington.
      Veteran jockey Williams came close to winning the three major Melbourne races in 2011, after claiming victory in the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate. Tuesday marks his first Melbourne Cup win.
      "I was lucky enough to sit on Vow And Declare. A credit to Danny O'Brien," Williams said, according to CNN affiliate Nine News. "It was a privilege to ride him today. We had a difficult barrier draw. The instructions, we trusted him. We know what we can do."
      "Great to be associated with a great horse like this horse ... I'm so grateful to be given the opportunity."
      Trainer Joseph O'Brien, son of esteemed Irish handler Aidan O'Brien, won the 2017 Melbourne Cup with Rekindling and he said he was disappointed for Dettori,who was second in .
      "I'm more gutted for Frankie than I am for myself. I'll be back. I don't know if Frankie is ever going to win this race," he told The Age.