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Melbourne Cup: Favorite Fiorente gives Gai Waterhouse a landmark win

updated 7:56 AM EST, Tue November 5, 2013
Gai Waterhouse celebrates her breakthrough victory in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
Gai Waterhouse celebrates her breakthrough victory in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
  • Favorite Fiorente wins the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Tuesday
  • The horse makes Gai Waterhouse the first Australian female trainer to win the race
  • Fiorente beat off competition from 2011 runner-up Red Cadeaux
  • Ex-footballer Michael Owen's horse Brown Panther finished eighth

(CNN) -- Gai Waterhouse made history on Tuesday by becoming the first female Australian trainer to win the Melbourne Cup, the country's most prestigious horse race.

Waterhouse saw her pre-race favorite Fiorente fend off competition from 2011 runner-up Red Cadeaux to win "the race that stops a nation."

"Everyone wants to win the majors and the Melbourne Cup is the biggest one of them all," said Waterhouse, who was born in Scotland, raised in Sydney and once appeared in British sci-fi television show Doctor Who during her earlier career as an actress after returning to the UK.

"It's a burning desire so today was fantastic ... His (Fiorente's) preparation was in Melbourne and I knew he was primed for the occasion.

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"It's the first time I've had the favorite in the 20 years I've trained."

Read: Meet the horse that upstaged Kylie

Victorious jockey Damien Oliver won the Flemington race for the third time in his career, despite only recently returning from a 10-month ban imposed for betting on a rival horse in 2010.

"It's amazing, a dream come true. It's really hard to believe," said Oliver. "I'm so rapt right now that I've been part of Gai's first win -- she's done so much for racing and it's a great honor for me to help her bring up the first one.

"Gai was one of the first people to really get behind me when I came back and I can't thank her enough for helping me get going again."

Read: The legs that stopped a nation

After her historic win, Waterhouse was asked about the possibility of taking both Fiorente and her other horse Tres Blue, which finished in 22nd place, across to Britain for Royal Ascot in August 2014.

"I'd like to go," she replied. "Both horses could easily come back to Europe. Tres Blue was just a bit new to it all."

Retired English football star Michael Owen saw Brown Panther, a horse he bred and co-owns, finish the race in eighth position.

Brown Panther was hampered by a gash it sustained during the race after a coming together with another horse, but Owen confirmed the animal had suffered no serious injuries.

Read: Bronze Black Caviar statue unveiled

"Eighth out of 24 pretty respectable," Owen said via his official Twitter account. "Proud of him. Just hope he is OK as he has been struck into during the race."

"Scan has come back clear," Owen added later. "Only superficial gash that requires stitches. We live to fight another day!"

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