CHAMPION jockey James McDonald and Team Godolphin has produced one of the most exciting finishes in Epsom Handicap history when Hauraki stormed from last to nail Dibayani and Mackintosh on the line.
McDonald knew there was going to be a hot tempo set by noted front-runner Fabrizio, so he settled Hauraki at the tail of the field and hoped for the breaks to happen in the straight, but Hauraki didn’t need luck as it proved class is permanent.
Having finished second behind Winx last start in the George Main Stakes, Hauraki had the bridesmaid tag attributed to it, but its win in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap will go down in history.
“Wow! That was cool,” an elated James McDonald said. “Obviously nothing went right early.
“He’s brilliant, been a bridesmaid so many times…to come away with an Epsom win. I was thinking ‘I hope this isn’t Astern all over again,’ it was good.”
McDonald credited the team at Godolphin for consistently producing quality horse after quality horse.
“We got the best staff in the business back at Godolphin,” he added.
Trainer John O’Shea doesn’t usually show his true emotions, which comes part-and-parcel with running an operation like Godolphin, but he couldn’t hide his excitement after the breathtaking win.
“I can’t believe it mate, honestly. I’ll take it, but I can’t believe it,” O’Shea said. “Mac (James McDonald) as he always does, got the right option. He came quick today.”
The only downside to the last-to-first victory was O’Shea didn’t have time to cheer home Hauraki which produced one of the best sprints Randwick has seen in years.
“Mate, we didn’t even get to cheer because he came so quick, we thought he was going to run fifth,” O’Shea quipped.
“It’s a great team effort. You get one of those James McDonald specials, great day for the team.”
Hauraki went over the odds with bookmakers at $6.50 despite finishing only 1.3 lengths behind Winx last start.
Dibayani and last start Theo Marks winner Mackintosh were game in finishing second and third. They looked to have the race between them before Hauraki sprouted wings late.