Zahra had picked his way through the field from well back, following Young Werther into the race from the 1200m. It was a matter of keeping his momentum given that Gold Trip had only won one of his 15 starts and was run down late by Durston in the Caulfield Cup.
“I felt the winner a long way out,” Zahra said. “I was just waiting for D Lane [Young Werther] to go. Obviously he’s a great jockey and he didn’t go too early, and I waited.
“With this horse I’ve always said that when you go you’ve got to go, because I’ve run a few seconds on him. I was like ‘right ohhhh!’ and then I was thinking, ‘I’ve got a fair way to go here’.”
Gold Trip ($19) launched from the top of straight and loomed on the outside of favourite Deauville Legend ($4.60), which hadn’t come off the bridle but couldn’t match the turn of foot of the topweight.
Gold Trip put a winning gap on his rivals with Emissary ($26) and High Emocean ($51) running into the minor money.
“We probably got to the front a bit early, but that is the best he has let down for me,” Zahra said. “It is what these trainers [Ciaron Maher and David Eustace] do – they have the horse right on the big day.
“He has just spot-on for this day and was brilliant.
“That last 100, I was thinking just piss off and no one come near me. Elation, just elation across the line.”
Zahra and Maher shared a bond when they were apprentices at Lindsay Park 20 years ago; now they are Melbourne Cup winners together.
But Zahra saved special praise for three-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey Glen Boss, who built his confidence over Gold Trip after his luckless ninth in the Cox Plate.
“He picked it straight off the Cox Plate. He was so confident. More confident than me apparently,” Zahra said. “That probably gave me a bit of confidence too.
“Bossy was ringing me the other day going, ‘this is the one’ and I said I’m already on it, and he was ringing me last night telling me how to ride it. I said, ‘I’ve got this Bossy, I’ve got this.’
And he did.