The Cup and $4.72 million eventually went to Vow And Declare.
In a desperate finish involving four horses, Vow And Declare, who had been forward in the field during the race, took an inside run and put his head down when it counted to win in a photo finish.
The four-year-old gelding was the first Australian-bred winner since Shocking in 2009.
Master Of Reality looked set to give jockey Frankie Dettori his first win, shooting clear at the 200m before just failing to hold off the winner.
Master Of Reality was second across the line, while Prince Of Arran, ridden by Kiwi Michael Walker, was third.
But there was an inquiry after the race, with fourth-placed Il Paradiso, ridden by Wayne Lordan, appearing to be impeded by Master Of Reality, ridden by Dettori, as the latter shifted in late in the race.
The protest was upheld, with Master Of Reality relegated to fourth, Prince of Arran promoted to second and Il Paradiso moved up to third.
In Rarotonga, punters came dressed up to witness one of the most anticipated annual events in the sports calendar.
- RK/Stuff News