The Blue Diamond Stakes has ended in a flood of tears as a family wept and screamed for the victory of battling Adelaide jockey Lauren Stojakovic and Miracles Of Life.
Stojakovic sang to the horse she calls “Barbie” before the start and then rode the race of her life to land Miracles Of Life a winner ahead of some of the biggest names in world racing.
The 29-year-old apprentice who suffered injuries so severe they kept her out of racing for three years, returned to scale, her face stained with tears and her parents, sisters and grandmother collapsing in each others arms.
“Our little girl, our little girl,” cried her father Nenad as she reached the winning post clear of the field.
“She’s number one, number one.
“This is the greatest thing, she deserves it so much.”
Stojakovic arrived at the high-point of her career after breaking her pelvis in four places in a trackwork accident, having broken a leg before that and also having surgery on both knees.
She was also the subject of massive pre-race conjecture after trainer Daniel Clarken and the filly’s owner allowed her to keep the ride after she had ridden Miracles Of Life to victory in each of her previous three runs.
All of it came to a head as she manoeuvred her way off the fence and was poised to make her winning run as they entered the Caulfield straight.
“Everything just worked out, it went better than I thought it could,” Stojakovic said.
“I was singing to her before we went into the gates just to keep her relaxed. She likes that.”
Miracles Of Life, the $3.20 favourite, settled behind the speedsters from her inside gate and travelled kindly until Stojakovic spotted her chance to get off the fence inside Montsegur at the 500m.
Once there, she had the Blue Diamond at her mercy, running away to score by 1-1/2 lengths from Fast `N’ Rocking ($26) with Godiva Rock ($17) a half head away third.
Stojakovic said she had remained composed until arriving in the winners’ stall where she saw her mother and father in tears.
“I couldn’t help it after I saw this lot crying at me,” she said.
“I’ll go back into the room by myself and have another little cry – and maybe do a dance as well.”
Clarken said the win would change his life and that of his jockey.
“It was sensational. Lauren has hardly left the filly’s side since she came into the stable,” he said.
“She rides her in all her work, feeds her, cleans up after her.
“They love each other.”