Blake Spriggs’ first Melbourne Cup parade has whetted the jockey’s appetite for the big day when he will realise his dream to ride in Australia’s most famous race.
He will be aboard eight-year-old Sir John Hawkwood who recently gave Spriggs his first Group One win in the Metropolitan in Sydney before a disappointing 10th in the Caulfield Cup.
The jockey took in Monday’s street parade in Melbourne ahead of his ride on the Paul Fudge-owned stayer trained by John Thompson.
“It definitely makes me want to come back,” Spriggs said.
“All the hard work to get here is definitely worth it. I’m happy to work harder off this. Paul has got a lot of nice horses there at Waratah so no doubt it won’t be long until we get the next one, but for now we’ll concentrate on this bloke and see if we can get the cash.”
“I’ve let it get to me today so then I can take it all in tomorrow and get back into the zone once I get to the track. I’ll probably allow myself to take a look at the crowd and take a deep breath cantering to the gates, and behind the barriers I’ll be back in the zone ready to go.”
Spriggs said Sir John Hawkwood’s unplaced Caulfield Cup run was not ideal.
“It was very out of the ordinary for him because he had only run out of a place once in the eighteen months before that, but he had excuses,” Spriggs said.
A slick track gallop at Flemington last Tuesday buoyed jockey’s spirits.
“He showed me at Flemington that he’s back,” Spriggs said.
“He’s ready to prove a point and for mine if he runs the trip he’s going to be somewhere around the money.”
For Spriggs, riding in his first Melbourne Cup is a dream.
“I spoke to Paul about it last week and he’s been doing this for nine years and got his first Group One winner in Australia with Sir John Hawkwood),” he said.
“I said to him, ‘you’ve been waiting nine years for this, I’ve been waiting twenty’. Because I’ve wanted to do this since I was four years old and it’s my favourite race. Each jockey has their favourite race, it’s not necessarily the Melbourne Cup but mine is.”
He’s proud to have his first Melbourne Cup ride.
“But jockeys aren’t remembered for the races they ride in, they’re remembered for the races they win,” he said.
“So that’s something that’s sticking in my mind. I’ve got a job to do and on the day that’s what I’m going to be thinking about the most.”