MELBOURNE - Japanese race favourite Admire Rakti collapsed and died in the stalls after finishing last in Australia's Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday, officials said.
The seven-year-old galloper, which won the Caulfield Cup in brilliant style last month, was second into the final straight but faded badly and went back through the field to finish last in the 22-horse race.
"Admire Rakti on return to the tie-up stall after the race has collapsed and died unfortunately," chief race steward Terry Bailey said.
"Our vets are on hand and the horse will undergo an autopsy. Obviously we'll have to await those results to find out the cause of the death.
"The normal procedure here is for especially the favourite to be vetted anyway, so we were certainly on to it.
"Unfortunately, just in the process of going back to the stalls to get hosed down and go to the swap box the horse passed away. It's a shame. We had such a nice, clean-run Melbourne Cup," Bailey added.
Admire Rakti was well supported and raced near the lead for most of the 3,200m journey.
As the galloper rounded the final bend it was noticeably under pressure and dropped back through the field sharply to finish 25 lengths behind the second-last horse.
It is the second consecutive year in which a horse has died in the Melbourne Cup.
French mare Verema was put down after snapping a bone during the 2013 race.