Mark Zahra has become the first jockey in 44 years to win back-to-back Melbourne Cups on two different horses.
The veteran steered Without A Fight to a dominant win in Australia's great race, 12 months after he rode Gold Trip to victory in last year's edition.
Chris Waller duo Soulcombe and Sheraz finished second and third respectively, with favourite Vauban down in 14th.
Harry White was the last person to claim two-straight Melbourne Cups on different horses, when he saluted on Arwon in 1978 and Hyperno in 1979.
Zahra faced an agonising decision earlier in the spring over which horse to ride after Without A Fight emerged as a genuine contender.
The jockey eventually chose the Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained gelding ahead of last month's Caulfield Cup. After passing a late veterinary inspection, Without A Fight stormed to a tight victory in the 2400m race.
Zahra opted to remain on the gelding on the back of the Caulfield Cup win and Tuesday's result showed it was the right move.
Without A Fight found clear air with 200m to run and was a class above his rivals, with Gold Trip fading late to finish 17th.
The Irish-bred import is the 12th horse to complete the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double and the first since Ethereal in 2001.
"I've got Mark Hunt who's a good friend and I rate as one of the best judges in Australia," Zahra told Channel 10. "I spoke to him at length about it and he said 'there's not much in it, but if you can get [Without A Fight] to settle, he'll run it'.
"We went through the race and like the weather forecast, the stars aligned for Gold Trip last year and they have aligned for this horse this year.
"I don't get to pick the result, I have to pick it before then. It was a few things, the weight and the way he won the Caulfield Cup and I was confident he'd run it out today."
Zahra entered Tuesday's race full of confidence and without the pressure he felt 12 months ago when he was searching for a first Melbourne Cup.
The emotions that came with racing against Gold Trip in the Caulfield Cup were also absent, as he focused on steering this horse to victory.
Zahra's confidence shone through as he placed Without A Fight on the rail before positioning his mount perfectly at the top of the straight.
"It was hard for me in the Caulfield Cup," he said. "I saw him walk past and I actually gave him a pat when he walked past. I thought 'he's my horse, I should be on him here'. I glad I had all that swept under the bridge and then I beat him, then rode him in the Cox Plate.
"Today I walked past him, I still gave him a wink but I'd moved right on. The sole focus was to win it again on [Without A Fight].
Favourite Vauban was well beaten in 14th for Willie Mullins and jockey Ryan Moore, while the legendary Irish trainer's well-backed Absurde was seventh under Zac Purton.
"Absurde ran a cracker. He was in a position to win at one stage coming up to the straight, didn't see it out," Mullins said."But Vauban was a little disappointing alright. He was beaten too far out for my liking.
"When I saw him at six furlongs out with Ryan having to give him a little niggle I thought, 'That's too far out for him to be niggling him'.
"He just flattened out and ran very disappointing, but there we are. That's the nature of this game."
Soulcombe, part-owned by a group of Richmond AFL premiership stars, ran second to a horse carrying the yellow-and-black colours of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.
Last year's winner Gold Trip was 17th under James McDonald, while legendary jockey and three-time winner Damien Oliver finished 21st in his final Cup ride aboard Alenquer.
Right You Are failed to finish the gruelling staying test as the mercury hit 30.4C, but the Cup was run without a fatality for the third straight year. Stewards were happy, with no breaches of whip rules or interference.