’96 Cup ride still a cherished memory for Damian Browne
SUNSHINE Coast hoop Damian Browne has amassed thousands of rides in his 20-plus years on the track, but the 1996 Melbourne Cup still rates as the highlight of his career.
He rode Cheviot that day and finished ninth behind winner Saintly.
"It is every jockey's dream to ride in the Melbourne Cup and I was lucky enough to ride in one," Browne said.
"It is certainly the biggest race, especially in Australia.
"One of the biggest in the world (and) would be the biggest one to ride in this country."
Browne likened the build-up to the race to grand final week for football players.
"It is a massive week in the lead-up to the race and was a special experience to be involved in," he said.
"It was a bit of a blur but something I will always remember."
Browne said Saintly was just too good that day.
"Saintly ran incredibly and was a fine horse," he said.
Browne said he still harboured ambitions to contest the famous race again, but was less than optimistic about his chances of that actually happening.
"Unfortunately with all the overseas runners now and the Japanese and the like, the weights are fairly light quite often, so it makes it very difficult to get a ride in now."
Browne will line up this Saturday at Flemington in the Group One VRC Sprint Classic on prized horse Buffering as the pair fight for a share of the purse worth a million dollars.
Browne has struck up a handy partnership with the eight-year-old after claiming the Jeep Moir Stakes last month.
"He has been a good old horse," Browne said.
"I love his will power. His will to win is just unbelievable.
"When he looks like he's down and out he just keeps fighting and that is all you can ask of them."
But Buffering will be up against it with Chautauqua rated almost unbeatable following a strong run which included taking out the Manikato Stakes on October 23.
Chautauqua passed Browne and Buffering who led in to the final stages of the race.
Buffering finished fifth.
"Well, he will be racing against the world's best sprinter (Chautauqua)," Browne said.
"It is going to be a tall order to beat him."
Readers of the Daily will be well informed when it comes to the Melbourne Cup, thanks to two special 16-page lift-outs.
You can get the latest news about the big race, along with detailed form and comment, sweeps and more in Monday's edition of the paper.
Then you will get even more with another lift-out in Tuesday's edition, which will also include a special Bart Cummings poster and heaps of stories about local racing enthusiasts.
Wednesday's edition of the Daily will have extensive analysis of the Cup.