Stephen Baster’s 20-month-old daughter Izzy has proven to be the lucky charm the jockey and Awesome Rock needed.
The horse and rider had been first past the post in a Group One at Flemington already this year, only to be denied the Australian Cup victory on protest.
That heartbreak was not far from Baster and father-and-son trainers Leon and Troy Corstens’ thoughts when Awesome Rock won Saturday’s $2 million Emirates Stakes.
“To lose the Australian Cup was heartbreaking,” Baster said.
“This is just unbelievable.”
Baster’s wife Melissa nearly stayed home with their two children, Izzy and 13-week-old Penny, because of the ordinary weather forecast before deciding to attend the Melbourne Cup carnival’s family day.
Baster gave Izzy a kiss before the race.
“She is my lucky charm. It is fantastic. Hopefully she remembers this for years to come.”
It was the first Group One win for both Awesome Rock and Troy Corstens.
“When we lost on protest the Australian Cup we were sort of desperate to get the Group One win that he deserves,” Corstens said.
“It’s my first Group One. To do it with dad is amazing.
“Not a lot of people get to spend a lot of time with their dad and I get to spend six or seven hours with him a day.
“As quirky as he is, he’s a champion.”
The day’s other major race, the $1 million Darley Classic sprint, belonged to Moe trainer Peter Gelagotis and the gelding Malaguerra.
“I am just very fortunate that I have been able to get a good horse in my care and achieve a result that we all dream of,” Gelagotis said.
Crowd numbers were up overall for the four-day carnival, at almost 319,000, despite numbers dipping below 100,000 for Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.