Jye McNeil had the basics right when he first started as an apprentice but he now has a Melbourne Cup on his mantlepiece after his stunning ride on Twilight Payment.
McNeil produced one of the great Melbourne Cup rides on Tuesday, perfectly judging the pace over the 3200m marathon before Twilight Payment held off Tiger Moth to score by a length.
McNeil, originally from Kerang, resisted the temptation to turn the Melbourne Cup into a walk-a-thon on Twilight Payment. The Joseph O’Brien-trained stayer posted the fastest Melbourne Cup time since Media Puzzle in 2002.
The jockey’s journey to becoming a Melbourne Cup winner started a few years ago with Mansfield horseman Gerald Egan.
Jye McNeil celebrates his incredible all-the-way win the Melbourne Cup.Source:Getty Images
Egan said McNeil had the key ingredient to make the grade as a student of racing in his tough school.
“They have to have good manners,” Egan told Racenet in January. “If they start off with good manners, then people will give them a go.
Congratulations #Hometown #Hero What a win @JyeMcNeil @FlemingtonVRC #Kerang
“Too many emotions”
“Work hard & you can achieve your life long goals”#MelbourneCup #TwilightPayment pic.twitter.com/UTBPwFtYnW
“They just need to say please and thank you and give me a call.”
McNeil’s manners got him in the door but his ability to absorb racing’s often harsh lessons got him through his apprenticeship with Egan.
Jye McNeil celebrates with the trophy after winning the Melbourne Cup.Source:AFP
Egan was also the master of Victoria Derby-winning jockey Lachlan King in his early days as well as Luke Nolen, Nick Hall, and Billy Egan.
“The good ones teach themselves,” Egan said. “If they want to learn, they put the time in and teach themselves.”
McNeil’s dedication landed him his first Group 1 win in last year’s Turnbull Stakes with Kings Will Dream. His second was his Melbourne Cup success.
But the Melbourne Cup isn’t McNeil’s biggest win this year. He welcomed his first child, his son Oakley, with his partner Jess Payne in August but the Melbourne Cup triumph is a clear second.
McNeil riding Twilight Payment leads the field around the first bend in the Cup.Source:Getty Images
Racing is full of rivalries but McNeil’s universal popularity among his peers was on show as he dismounted after the race.
“That’s what it’s all about,” McNeil said. “There’s a few mates down by the ramp and a few in the mounting yard, and that’s what makes the moment.
“It’s been a lifelong dream to get this moment and to get this winner is very surreal.”
Oakley McNeil might not understand what his dad did at Flemington, but the little fellow is going to love the shiny new toy his father brought home on Tuesday.
PRINCE’S EXTRAORDINARY CUP QUEST SET TO CONTINUE
By Ben Dorries
It is fitting that Prince Of Arran now joins the much-loved warrior Red Cadeaux in the Melbourne Cup history books and it’s uplifting that his extraordinary Cup quest now looks set to continue next year.
Australian racing’s new superwoman Jamie Kah couldn’t conjure a magic act to launch Prince Of Arran over a wall of horses passing the home turn, with Charlie Fellowes’ popular UK raider being super unlucky in third.
The Melbourne Cup is the nut that Prince Of Arran can’t quite crack, running in the placings for the third consecutive year to join Red Cadeaux as a three-time Cup placegetter.
“He was super unlucky — he really deserves it. He just had no luck on the turn,” Kah said.
Red Cadeaux ran in five Melbourne Cups but Prince Of Arran has done something even the former British champion wasn’t able to achieve and that’s run three consecutive Cup placings.
Red Cadeaux’s runner-up finishes in 2011, 2013 and 2014 were separated by an eighth-placed finish behind Green Moon in 2012.
Jamie Kah after her fast-finishing third on Prince Of Arran.Source:Getty Images
For trainer Fellowes it was a mixture of pride and disappointment and just about every emotion in between.
But mainly pride.
“You can’t be gutted running third in the Melbourne Cup. I’m not gutted at all,” Fellowes said. “I’m incredibly proud of him.
“I felt we got our run stopped at a really bad point in the race and the way he was running home at the end, it wouldn’t have had to be too much further and we would have given Twilight Payment something to think about.
“He was behind a wall of horses at the wrong time and got out a bit too late. He flew. He’s run a massive race again. He is an incredible horse. Hopefully we’ll be back again next year.”
The bookmakers are TAB are certain Prince Of Arran will be back for a fourth Melbourne Cup tilt, installing him as the $18 equal second pick behind Tiger Moth for next year’s race.
Melbourne Cup 2020: Twilight Payment takes the top spot
The race that stops the nation reached a thrilling conclusion as punters around Australia yelled at TV screens, cheering their horses on.
Originally published asDad’s Cup joy: How the Kerang kid hit the big time
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