No excuses but plenty of pride.

That was the story of the two New Zealand-trained horses in yesterday's Melbourne Cup, with Sir Charles Road seventh and Zacada finishing 13th.

The Kiwi-trained pair were huge odds, as long as 150-1 to win the great Flemington race but Sir Charles Road defied those odds by looming up to nearly hit the lead on the inside at the top of the straight.

He was run over late by the all European-bred major placegetters, with the first five home being European-trained or having at least started their careers there.

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"To finish seventh and be one of the first Australasian-bred and trained horses home is a great performance," said Lance O'Sullivan, the former champion jockey who now co-trains Sir Charles Road with Andrew Scott at Matamata.

"He went into the race with a difficult campaign, getting a temperature early and then had a problem when galloped on in the Caulfield race two starts ago.

"So to come here and race like that, almost hitting the lead at the top of the straight down in the worst of the going was something we are very proud of.

"He has run out of his skin."

Already a Sydney Cup placegetter last autumn, Sir Charles Road could head back there later this season but take in the Auckland Cup at Ellerslie in March on the way through.

His seventh place earned him A$150,000, whereas Zacada's 13th was a case of very close but no cigar.

Horses placed back to 12th were paid out up to A$150,000, so Zacada missed a decent payday by one spot.

Rider Damian Lane had no choice but to ride the Cambridge stayer back in the field from his wide draw and he loomed up wide at the top of the straight but struggled over the last 300m.

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Taranaki-owned cult hero Who Shot Thebarman was a well beaten 17th of the 23 finishers.

Jockey Michael Walker was the first Kiwi home in the race, riding A Prince Of Arran into third.

There had been huge concerns in his camp that the Lexus Stakes winner would struggle on the very wet Flemington track after early downpours but the surface's remarkable drying qualities meant the 3200m was run in a sound 3:21, that improvement enough to see A Prince Of Arran run an enormous race for Walker.

• When the rain started to fall, James McDonald knew.

Melbourne Cup favourite Yucatan had been highly touted, but the remnants of a morning of torrential rain at Flemington hampered the raider, quashing owner Lloyd Williams' hopes of a Cup three-peat to finish 11th.

"Absolutely (I was concerned when the rain came in the morning)," McDonald told the Herald Sun.

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"Same with the connections, as well."

He said he had been pleased with how the five-year-old was travelling early but that he had been brought undone by the "sticky" surface.

Vets later reported that Yucatan had pulled up lame. "He travelled well but as soon as they quickened up, he just couldn't quicken up as well," McDonald said. "He travelled well, just in that sticky ground he just couldn't quicken up like he did at Caulfield. I thought he was always a good track horse, and that was the case."

Champion trainer Aidan O'Brien's travelling foreman TJ Comerford later said that every time the horse had run on a soft ground like that on show at Flemington yesterday, he had produced a similar result.

McDonald, who watched last year's Melbourne Cup from the sidelines as he served an 18-month ban, admitted being part of the proceedings was a far better way to take in the race. "Absolutely," he said.

"It's good to be there."

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