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Caulfield Cup 2016: Favourite Jameka takes out the Caulfield Cup for trainer Ciaron Maher

Favourite delivers: Nicholas Hall crosses the line on Jameka. Photo: Scott Barbour Nick Hall riding Jameka celebrates on the line. Photo: Vince Caligiuri
Nanjing Night Net

When you want something enough you will move heaven and earth to get it, especially if it’s about claiming one of the major events in your sport.

Nick Hall had already won one Caulfield Cup when he stormed home aboard  Fawkner, owned by his godfather Lloyd Williams, three years ago.

Having tasted glory on that day at the Heath in 2013,  Hall, who practices yoga and whose body is covered in more ink than an average tattoo parlour could reasonably be assumed to stock, wanted that experience again.

So when he got the chance to ride the Ciaron Maher-trained Jameka in the traditional lead-up race, The Naturalism, in September and won easily he knew she could be a real cup contender.

That feeling was only reinforced two weeks later when Jameka turned out at Flemington to run second to Hartnell in the group 1 Turnbull Stakes.

The Godolphin galloper treated her with disdain and will try to prove how good he is next Saturday when he seeks to dethrone the champion mare Winx in the Cox Plate.

But Jameka was well clear of the rest in that race, a field in which there were several group 1 winners and several  cups contenders. Take Hartnell away and everyone would have  been declaring Maher’s four-year-old mare over the line already for the biggest assignment of her career.

The money continued to pour on her, especially when Godolphin opted to scratch Hartnell for his date with Winx and instead rely on one of their international raiders, Scottish.

And Hall’s confidence could only have grown as the big day approached.

His only problem, the bane of all jockeys’ lives, was weight.

Hall would normally ride a few kilos more than Jameka’s allocated  52.5, but he managed to shed the excess and take his place on her back with such devastating results.

“It was a very tough week. I will tell you how I pulled up in few days’ time,” said Hall following a quick rehydration and a moment to think about what he had done.

The jockey grinned as he revealed he yelled “you f—ing beauty” as his mount crossed the line. It would surely be churlish for any lipreaders  to take umbrage at his emotion at such a moment of triumph given that he had forced himself to lose 2.5 kilos in such a short time.

The 29-year-old, it could be said, was born for such moments.

His father, Greg, was a leading rider, winning a Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper, among other big races, for Lee Freedman back in the early 1990s.

Ironically the only “major” Hall snr didn’t win was the Caulfield Cup, but his son – who came late to race riding, only making his debut 10 years earlier – has ensured that the family honour has been more than upheld.

For trainer Ciaron Maher Jameka’s success was yet another rung climbed on the ladder that seems inexorably destined to take him to the top of his profession.

He might not have won any training premiership yet  but no one can doubt that the long-haired thirtysomething from the Western District is the poster boy for Victoria’s up-and-coming training fraternity.

Maher has done things the hard way, starting as a battling jumps jockey, building up his stable with tried horses and cast offs, gradually increasing the quality of his stock and his winning totals.

He might look like a rock musician having a day out at the track – all tousled mane and chiselled features – but he is a horseman to his bootstraps.

Not only has he proven himself capable of winning group 1 races on the flat – Jameka was his second at Caulfield in the past few weeks following Bon Aurum’s success in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes earlier in the spring – but he is a dab hand with jumpers too, winning the Grand Annual at Warrnambool twice with Al Garhood and preparing that great steeplechaser Bashboy to win three Grand Nationals.

It seems that there is little Maher cannot do with a horse, so when he says he is now aiming Jameka for that big two-mile event at Flemington next month, no one should be surprised if the pair – along with Hall – take centre stage once more. Bring on the Melbourne Cup. The ultimate racing form guide with free tips, live odds and alerts for all racing.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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