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Winning Melbourne Cup jockey James McDonald boldly predicted Verry Elleegant would win, as his partner, a fellow jockey, said he’d fulfilled ‘every jockey’s dream’. 

In a pre-race column for the Herald-Sun, McDonald described the mare as ‘definitely one of my best chances’ to win the race, having finished second on Fiorente in 2012 and third on Hartnell in the 2016 cups.

‘I galloped her on Saturday and she is absolutely humdinging,’ McDonald wrote of the New Zealand-bred and Sydney-based mare. 

Verry Elleegant distanced the field over the 3,200m on Tuesday leaving hot favourite Incentivize and Irish horse Spanish Mission in its wake in second and third. 

‘It’s what dreams are made of. I can’t believe it,’ McDonald said immediately after the race. 

‘I have so much faith in that mare, I just love her to bits. I’m speechless really.’ 

'It's what dreams are made of. I can't believe it,' McDonald said immediately after the race of his first Melbourne Cup victory

'It's what dreams are made of. I can't believe it,' McDonald said immediately after the race of his first Melbourne Cup victory

‘It’s what dreams are made of. I can’t believe it,’ McDonald said immediately after the race of his first Melbourne Cup victory

McDonald embraces his partner Katelyn Mallyon, a fellow jockey, after his momentous victory

McDonald embraces his partner Katelyn Mallyon, a fellow jockey, after his momentous victory

McDonald embraces his partner Katelyn Mallyon, a fellow jockey, after his momentous victory

'I drive him mad about racing but he actually doesn't like talking about it at home,' Ms Mallyon (right) said recently about her partner, Melbourne Cup-winning jockey James McDonald (left)

'I drive him mad about racing but he actually doesn't like talking about it at home,' Ms Mallyon (right) said recently about her partner, Melbourne Cup-winning jockey James McDonald (left)

‘I drive him mad about racing but he actually doesn’t like talking about it at home,’ Ms Mallyon (right) said recently about her partner, Melbourne Cup-winning jockey James McDonald (left)

Once he’d returned to the front of the stand and dismounted, McDonald fought his way along the famous Flemington roses to hug his partner Katelyn Mallyon, who has twice ridden in the Melbourne Cup as a jockey.

‘From barrier 19 I thought it would be really hard for her and him, but gee, I watched it down the end of the straight and the way that he just parked her perfectly,’ Ms Mallyon said through tears.

‘The way the mare relaxed for him, I was … I just can’t believe we’ve won a Melbourne Cup. 

‘It’s every jockey’s dream. It’s something we all dream of doing. I get to live through my dreams through my beautiful partner, James. 

‘To do it on such a wonderful mare, that means a lot to us and our family, it’s awesome. Can’t believe it.’

Ms Mallyon, who is also an Australian Turf Club racing ambassador and Channel 7 racing presenter, said in a recent interview for the Australian Turf Club that she is the one that is more obsessed with the sport of kings.

‘I drive him mad about racing but he actually doesn’t like talking about it at home,’ she said.

‘He is one of the most driven people I have ever met. He hates losing at anything and loves to stay fit and healthy. He swims every morning and plays a lot of golf. Also he is a really good cook. 

‘I’m a lucky girl and we work well together.’ 

The former Group 1 jockey, who gave up racing to support McDonald at his Sydney base, recalled the adrenaline of winning her first race as a jockey.

‘It was very emotional for me… I guess it’s the ultimate goal for a jockey. You dream of it happening but when it actually did occur, it was a massive shock! 

‘I fell in by a nose and funnily enough I thought I didn’t win!’ 

The former Group 1 jockey gave up racing to support McDonald at his Sydney base

The former Group 1 jockey gave up racing to support McDonald at his Sydney base

The former Group 1 jockey gave up racing to support McDonald at his Sydney base

Katelyn Mallyon (right), partner of jockey James McDonald, reacts after McDonald rode Verry Elleegant to victory in today's Melbourne Cup

Katelyn Mallyon (right), partner of jockey James McDonald, reacts after McDonald rode Verry Elleegant to victory in today's Melbourne Cup

Katelyn Mallyon (right), partner of jockey James McDonald, reacts after McDonald rode Verry Elleegant to victory in today’s Melbourne Cup

James Mcdonald poses with the Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse

James Mcdonald poses with the Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse

James Mcdonald poses with the Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse

It was also a first Cup triumph for McDonald, who had twice previously finished in the placings with Fiorente and Hartnell.

Verry Elleegant was notorious early in her career for getting stirred up in races and wasting energy, but had matured out of that and McDonald gave her a beautiful midfield run despite starting from a  wide barrier.

As she closed on the leading bunch on the final turn, McDonald knew the race would boil down to a contest between his mount and hot favourite Incentivise which kicked up into the lead at the top of the straight.

‘Thoughts (of winning) went through my mind at the 500m when I saw Incentivise getting shoved along but I knew he would fight,’ McDonald said.

‘There wasn’t a horse that was going to come from behind me, it was just a matter of catching him.

‘When I went for home … I was thinking, where’s that post?

‘She travelled so sweetly in the run for such a big way.

‘She is trained by a master. He gets them right. She is a superstar and I’m so proud of her.’

The mare’s win was also a first Melbourne Cup victory for trainer Chris Waller, who had tried and failed to win the big race many times and understandably did not want to jinx it by travelling down to Flemington and instead stayed put in Sydney.   

Famous for engineering the record-breaking exploits of Winx, Waller now has in his possession one of Australian sport’s most prized trophies to go alongside Winx’s four Cox Plates.

‘He followed his own instructions,’ Waller told 10 Live’s coverage of the race about what he’d said to McDonald before the race. 

‘I spoke to him this morning. I didn’t want to complicate things. James, you’re in control. 

‘He’s done a great job, each and every time he sits on a horse he takes everything so seriously. 

‘I wish he would chill occasionally, but he probably ssdays the same about me.’

'She is trained by a master. He gets them right. She is a superstar and I'm so proud of her,' McDonald said of trainer Chris Waller and his horse, Verry Elleegant

'She is trained by a master. He gets them right. She is a superstar and I'm so proud of her,' McDonald said of trainer Chris Waller and his horse, Verry Elleegant

‘She is trained by a master. He gets them right. She is a superstar and I’m so proud of her,’ McDonald said of trainer Chris Waller and his horse, Verry Elleegant

Trainer Chris Waller with his wife Stephanie. Today's win was his first in the Melbourne Cup

Trainer Chris Waller with his wife Stephanie. Today's win was his first in the Melbourne Cup

Trainer Chris Waller with his wife Stephanie. Today’s win was his first in the Melbourne Cup

Source: DailyMail

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