FORMER Hong Kong-based jockey Wayne Harris completed the most successful comeback in years when he won the Melbourne Cup at Flemington yesterday on the former English Group winner, Jeune. Harris, son-in-law of trainer Neville Begg, won the coveted Cup by two lengths as Jeune (16-1) buried an army of pundits who said he would not stay the two-mile trip. Hong Kong's champion River Verdon equally floored a considerable number of observers who were convinced he would stay the Cup distance. He did not. For Hong Kong-based Irish champion jockey Mick Kinane it was never going to be a day like last year when Vintage Crop became the first northern hemisphere challenger to win the greatest race in the Australasian calendar. Vintage Crop, caught wide from his barrier draw, never showed the spark that ignited him last year and Kinane said: 'He was just not himself. There was very little there at all. He was never really going.' The story of Kinane and Harris tend to sum up the roller-coaster world of top-class horse racing. Globe-trotting Harris, who has ridden in Hong Kong, Singapore and Ireland, was in hospital 12 months ago following an operation to amputate a finger which had become infected after handling a piece of riding equipment. He begged to be let out for the Melbourne Cup and hospital authorities relented for one day. He came to Flemington with his hand swathed in bandages and watched Kinane ride into history on Vintage Crop. Yesterday the Irish champion could only watch as Harris swept through to claim easily the biggest victory of his career. Harris is a popular figure in the riding ranks and said later: 'I was probably about third choice for the horse but that's the way it can happen. 'It has been a tremendous thrill, I'm still up on some cloud. 'I'm delighted they also saw it in Hong Kong. I'm sure Neville was happy but I didn't do him any favours in the last. I could have ridden a better race on that one.' Harris' final ride at the meeting was on a sprinter in the final event part-owned by father-in-law Begg. Jeune was an English Group Two winner at Royal Ascot but was considered dubious staying material in Melbourne. However, he lengthened stride and went to the line well clear of Caulfield Cup winner Paris Lane and outsider Oompala. River Verdon was certainly not disgraced in the Flemington spectacular, having ranged up at the turn into the straight. For a few strides it looked as if he would belie his 80-1 quote but he floundered a good 500 metres from the line. Jockey John Marshall said: 'He ran very well although he was inclined to pull early. But when he had to quicken up and go on with it, he simply couldn't. We hoped he would run out the trip but he could not do it.' For ex-Hong Kong star Brent Thomson there was no prodigal son return to Melbourne which he called home for years. His mount Quick Ransom was sent off as third favourite behind unplaced Vintage Crop and Top Rating but was a spent force a long way from home. 'I was gone about seven furlongs from the finish. It was very disappointing because he had done well since coming here and we felt he was a very real chance in the race,' Thomson said. Vintage Crop was showing the effects of the injury he suffered in a trackside incident 10 days previously and even the heavy showers which dampened Flemington in the three hours before the race were not enough to swing things back in his favour. The ground ended up officially good but jockeys said it was shifting on top and hard immediately underneath. For Irish trainer Dermot Weld the dream of a second successive Melbourne Cup - achieved only three times in the past - looked only possible for a few strides coming to the home turn.