It might not have been the Melbourne Cup at Flemington but some dreams were still coming true for riders at Randwick’s picnic race meeting on Tuesday.
Amateur jockeys more used to competing on country tracks got the opportunity to race on the hallowed turf at Sydney racing’s headquarters, many of them for the first time.
“It’s unbelievable, mate, and to actually ride a winner at Randwick is even better,” said Ricky Blewitt after he won the third event on the five-race program.
“Just riding on these sorts of tracks is really sort of a dream come true. It’s not too often people can say they’ve ridden at Randwick.
“I rode at Harden last week and there was not one bit of green grass.”
With Randwick at reduced capacity due to construction work on a new grandstand, the traditional Melbourne Cup day race meeting in Sydney was switched to Rosehill this year.
The picnic races, which are held annually on Melbourne Cup day at Rosehill, were in turn moved to Randwick.
Blewitt said the country crowds were fantastic at the picnic meetings but competing on the lush Randwick turf was also a highlight.
His thoughts were echoed by Rebeka Prest who also rode a winner.
“I’ve been here plenty of times and strapped horses here before. (But) it’s the first time I’ve ever ridden at Randwick. It’s a good thrill,” Prest said.
“Half the tracks we ride at don’t have running rails, only for the last 600 metres.
“Some are dirt (tracks), some sand, some grass. A bit of everything actually.”
Forbes-based Stuart Brown, who has been riding at the picnic meetings for 22 years, didn’t manage to find the winner’s circle but was happy to be at the track for the first time.
“I can say I’ve ridden here at Randwick now,” he said.
Mathew Scorse had ridden winners at Randwick in the past when competing as a professional before weight forced him to turn to the picnic circuit.
He said it was about nine years since he had ridden a winner at Randwick.
“It also gives the guys from the bush that haven’t been here before the experience to ride at Randwick,” Scorse said.
“And that’s a big highlight of their riding careers.”