11/01/2011 8:27AM

Melbourne Cup goes to Euro invader Dunaden

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Dunaden, a Group 3 stakes winner at Longchamp in April, continued the recent domination of foreign horses in the $6.1 million Melbourne Cup on Tuesday with a nose victory over the British invader Red Cadeaux.

Dunaden won the 23-runner race for his second consecutive win, having won the Geelong Cup in Australia on Oct. 19 under jockey Craig Williams. Williams could not ride Dunaden in the Melbourne Cup, having lost an appeal of a recent suspension in Australian court on Monday.

The decision led trainer Mikel Delzangles to turn to fellow Frenchman Christophe Lemaire to ride Dunaden, a 5-year-old owned by Pearl Bloodstock.

The finish was one of the closest in the history of the race.

Red Cadeaux, trained by Ed Dunlop in England and ridden by Michael Rodd, led in the stretch of the two-mile Melbourne Cup, but could not hold off Dunaden. The first two finishers were essentially bobbing heads in the final strides.

Lucas Cranach finished third, with defending champion Americain closing well to finish fourth as the favorite. The first four finishers had raced in Europe this year. Red Cadeaux was third in the Group 1 Irish St. Leger in September. Lucas Cranach won the Group 2 Hansa Preis in Germany in June. Americain won the Prix de Reux at Deauville, France, in August.

Unusual Suspect, the winner of the Group 1 Hollywood Turf Cup in 2010, finished ninth in the field of 23.

Dunaden, a French-bred by Nicobar, was a French handicap horse in 2010, and raced in better classes this year, winning the Group 3 Prix de Barbeville over 1 15/16 miles at Longchamp in April. The Group 3 Geelong Cup was his second win of 2011.