Carly-Mae Pye’s spirit rides on at Caulfield Cup
SHUTTING out the thousands of screaming punters as she neared the finish line, jockey Tracy O'Hara took a deep breath and thought "Come on Carly, do this for me".
In what will probably be the most emotional ride of her life, O'Hara paid tribute to her close friend and renowned Rockhampton jockey Carly-Mae Pye at the St Peter's Caulfield Cup Day at Callaghan Park on Saturday.
Carly-Mae, 26, tragically passed away last week following a track accident.
Donning the jockey's purple and pink silks atop Zaha Express, the horse she was meant to ride, Tracy said she could feel Carly-Mae with her every step of the way.
"She tried, she did ... but it wasn't meant to be," O'Hara said.
Win, lose or draw, Tracy said it was an honour to be able to do something so special.
"It's a great achievement to do this for her," she said.
"I will never forget her; every time I'm riding she will be with me."
In the end, it was Shepiktus, ridden by young jockey Adrian Coome, who claimed victory in the Class 1 Handicap (1100m) race, re-named the Carly-Mae Pye Memorial.
"It's a great honour to win this race in memory of Carly-Mae," Adrian said as he accepted a special clock bearing her picture during a presentation in the mounting yard.
"Carly was a great friend ... she will be very dearly missed."
In a touching gesture, both the winning trainer and owner gifted the special trays they were presented with to Carly-Mae's partner Tim Cook.
After the final local race, a video tribute to the talented horsewoman was played on-course and flowers were laid on the track by jockeys and immediate family members.
The race will now become an annual event. Carly-Mae's funeral will be held at Callaghan Park on Wednesday.