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By Damian Browne | Friday, November 6, 2020

The Melbourne Cup produced a great end to end result for the Twilight Payment team.

Making all of the running certainly would have been a tough proposition going out … especially for a young rider like Jye McNeil.

The last to succeed in doing that in the Cup was Jimmy Cassidy aboard Might And Power back in 1997. That shows you how difficult it is to carry out. When Jimmy was riding well, he would always back his own confidence, but it would have been so much harder for a young jockey having his first ride in the race to do that.

It was a terrific ride.

Lloyd Williams was saying all week that they went too slow in the race last year so obviously he and trainer Joseph O’Brien told Jye that and he rode a perfect race to instructions.

The fact that the time Twilight Payment ran was the fourth fastest in Cup history got some coverage, but I think it is hard to line up times going back quite a few years … because they are racing on different tracks than they may have been racing on back then.

If you want to line up times, I think you can go back a few weeks but anything over a period of years would be very difficult to do.

The second placed Tiger Moth also ran a terrific race, but it was the ride by Kerrin McEvoy made the headlines for all of the wrong reasons with his excessive use of the whip and his subsequent huge $50 000 fine and suspension.

McEvoy is not a huge whip rider in general … and he probably doesn’t get fined that often for this sort of breach. It’s not really in his make-up.

Jockeys had been warned prior to Cup week that penalties would be severe for overuse of the whip, but a question for me is … if it was another rider with that whip breach who hadn’t just won The Everest, would a fine as heavy as $50 000 have come into play.

I know people will be saying that McEvoy, having won The Everest, will be able to pay the fine out of his loose change jar, but not all jockeys are that wealthy. $50 000 is a lot of money and it could have been a life changing fine in a negative sense for somebody else.

Would they have done the same to someone else?

I don’t know. Just a thought.

On a more positive note, what a wonderful horse Prince Of Arran is!

On Tuesday he claimed his third Melbourne Cup placing in as many years.

The way he seems to flourish when he gets to Australia … where his form is probably a lot more solid than it is around the world … is a pleasure to watch. His run was outstanding again.

Poor Jamie Kah is copping a bit of a flagging about her ride in certain quarters, but I thought she rode as good a race as she could.

If you asked a punter, at the 600m mark in the Melbourne Cup, would you like your jockey to come out or stay in … ride for luck or find room … eight out of ten would say get out. That’s what Kah tried to do. Obviously, the run did present a little bit on the inside but, in the Melbourne Cup you can’t be riding for luck!

And remember, the decisions jockeys have to make are largely split-second decisions.

Jamie Kah has been riding very well for a long time. That’s what got her a Melbourne Cup ride and I think, the way her career is progressing, this time next year she will pick up another Melbourne Cup ride, give herself another chance … and that the experience on Prince Of Arran will do her well.

As far as the Oaks on Thursday was concerned, Damien Oliver claimed his sixth win in the race with another great effort in the saddle aboard the Hayes / Dabernig trained Personal.

It was the first Group 1 win for the training partnership since David Hayes left for Hong Kong. I think they have had a couple of Group 1 placings in the in the 1000 Guineas and the Caulfield Guineas … but this was their first win at the elite level. I’m sure it’s a relief for them and it won’t be their last Group 1, that’s for sure.

As for Ollie … well, he is just standing the test of time and showing the young fellows that he has still got it.

When you are at that level you have got to keep doing it at this time of year. If Ollie had a shocking carnival, there would be knockers out there saying he is over the hill and should be retiring but he, once again, has clearly showed that is not the case.

Good on him!

Also, yet again, the greys race on Oaks day produced a tremendous spectacle.

I was fortunate enough to win it one year … and my horse was pretty much black with a bit of a grey tail. I can remember people commenting down by the barrier … is it even grey?

It was a horse called Black Cash for Gary Doughty back in 2013.

I think the race was significant this year, especially with the passing of Subzero and the naming of the race after a horse who was such a great ambassador for the racing industry.

It was also impressive and fitting that the race turned out to be really a great contest with only one-and-a-quarter length separating the first six horses past the post.

It certainly deserves its place on such an important race-day.

This coming Saturday at Flemington is, after Derby Day, the next biggest day punting-wise as far as quality fields go.

They’ve got their quality fields again, so it is going to be a great day’s racing.

Melbourne Cup week in now really in full stride … to the degree that there is a $1 million race in Sydney … the Golden Gift for two-year-olds … that is hardly getting any air-time, so get ready for a big finish to a Melbourne Cup Carnival.

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Damian Browne
Damian Browne
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best