Riding Invincible Gem to win the Group Two Missile Stakes has proved a little easier for Corey Brown than walking the Kokoda Track.
Putting aside the pain in his knees, Brown steered the Kris Lees-trained mare to a convincing 1-1/4 length win over her triple Group One-winning stablemate Le Romain.
Brown and fellow Sydney jockeys Kathy O’Hara and Hugh Bowman spent much of last week in Papua New Guinea with Melbourne rider Stephen Baster and celebrity Kris Smith walking the path taken by Anzac soldiers in World War II.
But Brown was keen to get back in time to ride Invincible Gem who started at $6.50 in Saturday’s 1200m sprint at Randwick.
“Kris rang my manager a few weeks ago and I was lucky enough to get the ride,” Brown said.
“I needed some painkillers after the walk. We did it in three-and-a-half days and it probably would have been good to take a bit longer.
“But my knees are not that sore now. She is a good mare.”
Lees always knew she was good but Invincible Gem has surprised the trainer with the steps she has taken.
“I just kept raising the bar and she handled every step,” Lees said.
“I was going to go for the Sheraco with her but she might get weighted out of that now so I’ll work it out.
Le Romain will head to Melbourne for the Group One Memsie Stakes with both Lees and jockey Glyn Schofield happy with his performance as he was stuck wide without cover.
“Le Romain was exposed the whole way which was always a chance of happening,” Lees said.
“He probably just ran out of condition the last 50 metres.”
The Monstar ($8.50) held his position for third, a half neck behind Le Romain, while the early leaders Jungle Edge and Memes finished last and second last respectively.
Last year’s Missile winner Tycoon Tara finished sixth and was immediately retired having secured her future as a broodmare with her Group One win the Tattersall’s Tiara in June.