Melbourne Cup
Lemaire riding Dunaden beats Rodd riding Red Cadeaux to win the Melbourne Cup in Melbourne. REUTERS

British horse Red Cadeaux was denied on the line by France's Dunaden in the closest finish in the 151-year history of the Melbourne Cup.

The Ed Dunlop-trained Red Cadeaux looked set to make a triumphant debut in the 'two-miler' as the horse, ridden by Michael Rodd, led the race inside the final furlong.

However, Christophe Lemaire, riding the French second-favourite Dunaden, kept pace and edged out Red Cadeaux in a photo finish to claim the AUS $6.2m (£4m) prize.

The winning margin was the shortest in 151 runnings of the race and Lemaire was reduced to tears after the judges' verdict was announced.

"It's incredible - it's a great moment for me," Lemaire told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"I didn't know if I could ride or not. It was for me already a pleasure to come to the Melbourne Cup as a spectator, so I was waiting for the judgement," he added.

"I had a fall just before the Arc [Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe] weekend and I lost eight winners, four group ones, so I know what it is to be in your armchair and watching your horses win."