Triple treat as McEvoy’s ‘gut feel’ pays off
KERRIN McEvoy had a premonition six months ago that Godolphin's multi-million obsession to win a Melbourne Cup would finally reap the ultimate payday this year, but his pre-race confidence was shaken just hours before Tuesday's $7.3 million race.
He couldn't find his lucky-charm necklace.
It's the necklace his wife Cathy gave to him in 2000 - the year he won his first Cup on Brew - and it has sat around his neck through his extraordinary successes since.
A relatively peaceful morning turned into a frantic search mission that failed to turn up the missing item before he left for Flemington.
He had followed a "gut" feeling to ride lightly-raced international Cross Counter - owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, whom he had ridden for in Dubai and the UK early in his career, and trained by Charlie Appleby, whom he had shared many long car rides to tracks in the north of England - ahead of the local hope Youngstar. Was the misplaced necklace an omen?
"Everything was going smoothly until I couldn't find it," McEvoy said. "I've had it since 2000; my wife gave it to me the first year I won it (the Cup)."
"But I just had to put it out of my mind, and get on with the job."
The one-time kid from Streaky Bay did of all that, and more, as he overcame mid-race obstacles and a huge amount of ground to further etch his name into Melbourne Cup folklore.
A triple success in the race that stops the nation, and now intrigues the world, has elevated him into rarefied air, leaving him alongside six other greats of the turf.
It also leaves the 38-year-old one win away from legends Harry White and Bobbie Lewis at the top of the Melbourne Cup jockey tree.
"To win three Melbourne Cups is a huge moment in my career," he said.
"It is great to repay the faith, and help Sheikh Mohammed win his first Cup. It is also great to do this with Charlie Appleby."
Cathy, sister of 2015 Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle, revealed McEvoy told her six months ago Godolphin would break through after so many years of trying.
"It's unbelievable," Cathy said. "Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would win three Melbourne Cups. He said to me six months ago that 'Godolphin is going to win it this year, and I'm going to on it.'"
McEvoy won the Cup with Brew 18 years ago, when the locals in the small South Australian coastal town of Streaky Bay drank the pub dry and cleaned out the TAB.
The same thing happened in 2016 when McEvoy saluted on Almandin.
And, according to McEvoy's father, Phillip, who travelled across to Flemington with his wife Tracy, said that "Streaky Bay would be turned on its head again."
"I used to be in the hotel game, but I'm not now," Phillip said. "Tony Hogan has the hotel now, and there will be no money left (in the TAB)."
Phillip, a former jockey, couldn't help but think back to when Kerrin was only four, and used to try and follow him to the track each morning.
There is a statue being planned for McEvoy in Streaky Bay, and Tuesday's win means they will have add an addendum to his honour roll.
Tuesday's victory has capped off an extraordinary spring for McEvoy, who also won the $13 million Everest on Redzel.
Now he has to make good on two promises.
The first is a swimming pool for his four children, who watched yesterday's race on television. The second is a new house that he promised Cathy - if he won.
At least there will be plenty left over for a new necklace if the search for his lucky charm remains unresolved.