8
Nov

Melbourne Cup 2017: Rekindling puts Corey Brown back on top

COREY Brown’s career resurgence is complete after his second Melbourne Cup win on Rekindling at Flemington on Tuesday.

The champion Sydney jockey left for Singapore nearly five years ago, disenchanted with the sport and looking for a fresh start. He admits he probably stayed a year too long but his overseas riding stint “reignited the fire in the belly”.

Brown returned to Sydney racing in January and has quickly re-established himself among the nation’s best jockeys, riding five Group 1 winners this calendar year culminating with his Melbourne Cup triumph on Rekindling.

“This seems more surreal the second time around,’’ said Brown, who won a Melbourne Cup on Shocking in 2009. “But it’s great to be back home and riding in the big races again. I don’t think I’ve quite found my place yet, it’s hard with the young guns we’re competing against.

“In the big races I’ve been getting a lot of opportunities and having some luck. This is my fifth Group 1 winner since I’ve been back.

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“To get those opportunities in big races is great. I would like to get the midweek thing happening a bit more and hopefully this is going to open up a few more doors.’’

Brown said his career rebirth had its genesis when he decided he was stale riding in Sydney, where he had been premier jockey in 2001 and had forged a hugely successful career over 20 years.

“I was going through a bit of a sour patch I’d run a heap of seconds,’’ Brown said. “I’d become quite friendly with Christophe Lemaire and he asked me to go over to France in our winter time.

“I packed up and left just to freshen up, but because of Joao Moreira I called into Singapore on a four-week working holiday before I went to France.

“I’d had a lot of luck and Joao told me he was on his way to ride in Hong Kong but no one knew at the time. So instead of heading back home, I detoured to Singapore. I was a big fish in a small pond there. I went for a four week working holiday and nearly spent four years there.

“I loved it there, but you watch race meetings like today and you get that hunger back. I knew it was time to come home and I probably should have done it 12 months earlier than what I did.’’

 

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Brown said he could count on one hand the number of rides he had picked up for owner Lloyd Williams and he had never met trainer Joseph O’Brien but that didn’t stop him from chasing the ride on Rekindling two months ago.

“My wife and three girls had booked a long time ago to come to their first Melbourne Cup as a family but the (Cup) rides weren’t coming thick and fast in Sydney,’’ Brown said.

“Then about six weeks ago, my manger and I did the form, scouting the lightweight rides, and Rekindling’s credentials stood out more than the others with 51.5kg.

“Limited senior riders can ride that weight so I put my resume forward, made a big push for the horse. I’ve never ridden for Aidan O’Brien or Joseph and when I put my resume forward I was just really happy they selected me.’’

Brown, who has ridden 46 Group 1 winners during his career, had never even been on Rekindlng’s back until Tuesday but the young colt and jockey became an instant winning combination.

Brown’s Cup-winning ride was an outstanding example of patience and timing.

“I was a bit concerned in the first furlong as there was a lost more speed than I thought,’’ Brown said. “I had wanted to be a pair or two closer

“But I let Rekindling settle in his rhythm then at 1200m there was a bit of confusion in front of us and Max Dynamite and I squeezed hard onto the fence and we got through the trouble. From that moment onwards where ever I pointed him he was happy to go. He was travelling that well.’’

Brown said Rekindling was travelling like a winner a long way out.

“I dragged him out three or four wide on the home turn and I wasn’t worried as I had only 51.5kg on my back,’’ he said. “I was confident, not that you can be too confident in a Melbourne Cup, that I was travelling so well that he was going to be very hard to beat. He was so strong late.’’

Brown then revealed he packed a “lucky charm” with him before leaving for Flemington early Tuesday morning.

“A mate of mine is a property developer,’’ Brown said. “He was only young and had gone out on his own and he was walking around on a property he was about to buy and he kicked a small gold nugget.

“He’s taken it everywhere with him since and everything he touches turns to gold. He was good enough to give it to me last night thinking it would bring me good luck. I put it in my suit. It’s too heavy to be putting on me anywhere — but he won’t get it back for a while!”

 

Read more: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/superracing/melbourne-cup-2017-rekindling-puts-corey-brown-back-on-top/news-story/95d5f1f2d9c0573943f52e70a575a89a