Everyone in racing is inclined to dream at times about what they would like to achieve, but nothing compares with the Melbourne Cup dream experienced more than 20 years ago by transtasman trainer Mike Moroney.
The incredible story leading up to Mike’s Melbourne Cup victory with Brew in 2000 has come to light ahead of the upcoming Lexus Melbourne Tour’s visit to Matamata next Wednesday. Last week Melbourne Cup hosts the Victoria Racing Club announced that Mike would be an official tour ambassador in the entourage accompanying the 18-carat Cup trophy around the country.
For the Walton-born horseman, this will be a homecoming with more than one twist in the tail given his family’s links to the great race. That’s a story in itself, but first let’s talk about the dream to beat all others.
“I had this dream one night that I won the Melbourne Cup with Brew,” Mike recalls. “It was uncanny with so much detail – he carried saddlecloth number 24 and his jockey wore the stable colours with a black cap, which meant I must have had another runner carrying my number one colours with a red cap.”
Problem was at that point Mike was not the trainer of Brew, a one-race winner by champion staying sire Sir Tristram from Japan Cup winner Horlicks, and like that mighty racemare was a member of the O’Sullivan family’s Wexford Stables.
The chance came some months later when Paul O’Sullivan told Mike that Brew had been sold to Singapore interests, but the money never came through and he could try and buy him instead.
“I got straight on the phone to my brother Paul and said get busy and find the money ($120,000),” Mike added, “we had to get our hands on Brew. Paul did the rounds of our clients and got the money to pull the deal together.”
The rest, as the saying goes, is history. Playing a patient game with the slow-maturing bay, Moroney saddled up Brew to win the 2500-metre JRA Cup at Flemington in early October 2000, followed by a second placing in the Moonee Valley Cup. He then grabbed the final spot in the Melbourne Cup field with victory in the Saab Quality three days before the big one.
The ultimate dream became a reality when Brew took the great race wearing saddlecloth 24, ridden by apprentice jockey Kerrin McEvoy in the Ballymore Stables second colours’ black cap. Topping off a near-perfect result, stablemate Second Coming finished third for Michael Coleman wearing the red cap.
Truth is the Melbourne Cup had been a dream in Mike Moroney’s mind for as long as he can remember. “My grandparents bred the 1960 Cup winner Hi Jinx and my earliest memory is seeing that photo on Nana’s wall during our weekly visits after church every Sunday.
“When I set up my own stable I inherited the family colours, so all those years later for Paul and me to be able to return to Matamata with our own Melbourne Cup for Nana to see – yes, that was a dream come true.”
*The Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour comes to Matamata next Wednesday, August 28, with an 11am public reception at the Matamata-Piako Civic and Memorial Centre followed by raceday at the Matamata racecourse.