After coming a close second in the biggest horse race of the year, you'd be excused for blowing up at least a little bit.

That wasn't the case for Joao Moreira.

The Brazilian jockey riding the second-placed Heartbreak City in the Melbourne Cup was praised for his "beautiful" gesture to race winner Kerrin McEvoy just seconds after crossing the finish line.

After a brutal head-to-head charge in the final 400m - which ended with just inches of difference between the two jockeys - Moreira patted his victor's back enthusiastically in congratulations.

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Their gladiatorial finish was described by Channel Seven's Peter Donegan as "one of the greatest home straight battles in Melbourne Cup history".

Moreira's sportsmanship was met with an outpouring of praise on Twitter.

Almandin beat Heartbreak City by a nose in a thrilling finish to the great race, giving Australian owner Lloyd Williams a record fifth win in the 'race that stops a nation'.

The former German galloper caught and edged Ireland's Heartbreak City at Flemington to give jockey Kerrin McEvoy his second Melbourne Cup, 16 years after his first.

Race favourite Hartnell, one of five Godolphin runners, was third across the line in the A$6.2 million race over 3200m (two miles).

It was a second Cup triumph for local trainer Robert Hickmott, who rehabilitated Almandin over 18 months off the track following a tendon injury after acquiring it in Germany.

McEvoy, who won his first Melbourne Cup with Brew in 2000, got Almandin home from the Tony Martin-trained Irish stayer Heartbreak City and ridden by Hong Kong-based Brazilian jockey Joao Moreira.

"Gee, he travelled well. How lucky am I, mate?" McEvoy said immediately after the win.

"The elation is unreal. Just a dream race. Great to be part of it again. Second cup."

The win made Williams the most successful owner in Melbourne Cup history following his previous successes with Just a Dash (1981), What a Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2007) and Green Moon (2012).

"It's high on the agenda, this one," Williams said, when asked how this triumph rated with his other successes.

"This horse had a (damaged) tendon, he was broken down. No, it's quite emotional about this one. The boys have done a fabulous job with getting this horse back."

The global Godolphin stable again failed to win the race despite having five runners and has now gone almost 20 years without tasting victory at Flemington.

Almandin, left, with jockey Kerrin McEvoy on board approaches the finish line to win the Melbourne Cup. Photo / AP
Almandin, left, with jockey Kerrin McEvoy on board approaches the finish line to win the Melbourne Cup. Photo / AP

Another Godolphin runner Qewy was fourth with Who Shot Thebarman fifth.

Moreira had a win earlier in the day on the Gai Waterhouse-trained invincible star.

"She was too quick for everyone in the race," he said after Race 1.

"She is a talented filly. She does everything right.

"Gai Waterhouse is one of the best training talent in town.

"I just did most of the team's job and I am very proud of it.

"There is no secret.

"You just need to have a good horse."

FINAL FINISHING ORDER

First

ALMANDIN Trainer: Robert Hickmott Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy

Second

HEARTBREAK CITY T: Tony Martin J: Joao Moreira

Third

HARTNELL T: John O'Shea J: James McDonald

Fourth

QEWY T: Charlie Appleby J: Craig Williams

5.

WHO SHOT THE BARMAN T: Chris Waller J: Hugh Bowman

6.

ALMOONQITH T: D & B Hayes, T Dabernig J: Michael Walker

7.

BEAUTIFUL ROMANCE T: Saeed Bin Suroor J: Damian Lane

8.

EXOSPHERIC T: Lee & Anthony Freedman J: Damien Oliver

9.

PENTATHLON T: John Wheeler J: Mark Du Plessis

10.

BIG ORANGE T: Michael Bell J: Jamie Spencer

11.

GRAND MARSHAL T: Chris Waller J: Ben Melham

12.

OCEANOGRAPHER T: Charlie Appleby J: Chad Schofield

13.

BONDI BEACH T: Aidan O'Brien J: Ryan Moore

14.

GREY LION T: Matt Cumani J: Glen Boss

15.

JAMEKA T: Ciaron Maher J: Nicholas Hall

16.

OUR IVANHOWE T: Lee & Anthony Freedman J: Dwayne Dunn

17.

EXCESS KNOWLEDGE T: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott J: Vlad Duric

18.

ASSIGN T: Robert Hickmott J: Katelyn Mallyon

19.

SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD T: John Thompson J: Blake Spriggs

20.

GALLANTS T: Robert Hickmott J: Blake Shinn

21.

SECRET NUMBER T: Saeed Bin Suroor J: Stephen Baster

22.

WICKLOW BRAVE T: Willie Mullins J: Frankie Dettori

23.

CURREN MIROTIC T: Osamu Hirata J: Tommy Berry

Last

ROSE OF VIRGINIA T: Lee & Shannon Hope J: Ben Thompson