Michael Dee’s spring carnival has already exceeded his expectations and he is preparing to experience another thrill when he rides in his first Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
The young jockey has come of age this spring with two Group One wins in The Metropolitan in Sydney in late September on Foundry and Saturday’s Myer Classic at Flemington on Shillelagh.
On Tuesday he will jump aboard 2016 Sydney Cup winner Gallante in Australia’s most famous race.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going at the moment and to get two Group Ones within six weeks is pretty unbelievable,” Dee said.
“My only goals were to pick up light rides in the Group Ones. So to come out with two Group One winners already, I’m kicking goals.”
The 21-year-old New Zealander moved to Victoria in January 2015 as an apprentice, initially on a three-month loan, but has stayed and established himself in the Melbourne riding ranks.
He has ridden at the past two Melbourne Cup meetings but this will be his first chance to ride in the main event.
“It’s a huge thrill for myself. I just can’t wait,” he said.
He watched the 2015 and 2016 Cups from the famous clock tower near the 200m mark of the Flemington straight and says an upset win on outsider Gallante on Tuesday “would mean everything”.
“Looking back even last year and the year before when I rode on Cup day, not having a ride in the race, I was just looking and thinking ‘what would it be like to ride in the race?
“This year I’ll be able to live that dream and hopefully get a bit of luck and just enjoy it.”
Gallante is the $101 outsider and Dee anticipates rolling forward from his wide draw to either lead or sit outside Lexus Stakes winner Cismontane.
“He’ll stay the trip and he’ll keep running. He runs all day,” Dee said.
“He’s going to have to improve but he’s a Sydney Cup winner over 3200 metres and any rain would help.”