Jockey Cory Parish planned to beg trainer David Hayes for a ride, any ride, on Melbourne Cup day.
He has never been to a Melbourne Cup, even as a spectator, and thought just being at Flemington on the day would be pretty special.
Thanks to last-minute entry Boom Time’s upset win in the Caulfield Cup, Parish is set for the ride of his dreams.
He has also been helped by the fact that trainer David Hayes can again bypass the normal politics involved in choosing a jockey because the head of the powerful Lindsay Park operation owns Boom Time himself.
“I was going to talk to David a few weeks ago to ask if I could just ride a horse on Melbourne Cup day just so I could be there,” Parish said.
“And now I’m in the Melbourne Cup. It’s pretty incredible.”
The Caulfield Cup gave Parish his first Group One win, five years to the day after he moved to Victoria from New Zealand.
He has even had random people stopping him in the street, asking for selfies with him.
The 28-year-old, who would normally be riding at somewhere like Echuca on the first Tuesday in November, remembers stopping to watch the Melbourne Cup in between rides at Ellerslie in Auckland.
“Now to be in amongst it and to be riding not only on the day but in the race is just a dream come true,” he said.
Parish will ride Dibayani for Hayes, his son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig in the Group One Kennedy Mile at Flemington on Saturday.
But he has knocked back any rides at Seymour on Thursday, not wanting to risk a suspension that could keep him out of the Melbourne Cup.
“It’s more important to be going to the Melbourne Cup than it is to be going to Seymour on Thursday,” he said.
“My wife has a share in one of the horses that I was on and I said: ‘Sorry, I can’t ride him.’
Wife Alisha will be trackside at Flemington on November 7, as will Parish’s New Zealand-based mum, dad and brother plus his two sisters who live in Perth.
The former jumps jockey isn’t worried about the 3200m distance in the Melbourne Cup.
After all, he rode a horse whose name he can’t remember in a two-mile race at Flemington once for Darren Weir.
“It didn’t go any good, but he was happy with the ride,” Parish said.
“All I know is when I was in the gates I thought ‘well, this will probably be the closest I’ll be able to ride in the Melbourne Cup, being a two-mile race at Flemington’.”