An emotional Zoe White brings Pantalettes back to the winners' stall.
An emotional Zoe White brings Pantalettes back to the winners' stall. Matt Harris

Magic dust at Callaghan Pk

With the "magic dust” now starting to settle on last Saturday's Caulfield Cup Day it's worth reflecting on the emotion-charged events that left even the most hardened race goers at Callaghan Park with a tear in their eye.

I use the term "magic dust” because it's only when you take a look back with the benefit of hindsight you truly appreciate that not even a script writer could have delivered better theatre.

It was well publicised in the build-up to last Saturday's race day that Rockhampton trainer Tim Cook was trying to win the race named in his late partner's honour for the first time.

Last year during the inaugural running of the Carly-Mae Pye Memorial race Cook had come so close with his Zaha Express running a brave second.

This year, his apprentice jockey Zoe White who was introduced to racing by Carly-Mae, was having her first ride in the race on one of three Cook stable runners.

The magic dust was being sprinkled days before the race when White's mount, Pantalettes, drew barrier one in the 12-horse field.

Barriers for races are drawn randomly by governing body Racing Queensland so White securing the favourable rails spot either came about by pure chance or through divine intervention.

Maybe some things are just meant to be (the mind goes back to Michelle Payne receiving barrier one for last year's Melbourne Cup).

Make no mistake though, inside barriers help but they don't guarantee success - that's entirely up to horse and jockey.

And young White deserves every accolade for timing her run on Pantalettes to perfection - it was the difference between winning and losing in a gripping photo finish where the result meant so much to those involved.

That was written all over White's face as she brought Pantalettes back to the winner's stall an emotional, crying mess.

The 18-year-old who had for so long worn her strong face - not just through the loss of her mentor but also through her own horror race fall which left her seriously injured - was releasing two years' of raw emotion.

This was her Media Puzzle moment.

Just as Damien Oliver had ridden with the spirit of his late brother Jason, White had just ridden with the spirit of Carly-Mae, her second mum.

And while it may provide some comfort for White knowing that Carly-Mae is riding with her, she also needs to realise that the goals she has kicked in her short career to date have not been achieved by Carly-Mae's protégé.

They have been achieved by Zoe White.

May Saturday, October 15, 2016 be a defining moment in your career, Zoe.

Earlier I mentioned looking back with the benefit of hindsight.

Was it just by chance that the race prior to the Carly-Mae Pye Memorial race last Saturday was won by the appropriately-named Given Wings?

The four-year-old mare was bred by Ben Tomlinson at the Gold Coast.

Tomlinson was at Callaghan Park to see the victory and revealed the story behind his galloper's name.

"I bought her mum (Guanahani) from a Magic Millions sale as a yearling and raced her.

"She won two races, at Doomben and Ipswich, and she died while giving birth to her first foal so we named the foal Given Wings.”

Fittingly Given Wings is trained by Jared Wehlow, who won the inaugural Carly-Mae Pye Memorial race with Stanathol.

Racing returns to Callaghan Park on Tuesday for the Breast Cancer Awareness Race Day.



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