FORMER Kerang jockey Jye McNeil scored his first ever Group 1 win aboard the Chris Waller-trained Kings Will Dream in the $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on the weekend.
In what was an incredibly special moment for the 24-year-old, brilliant ride saw McNeil congratulated by a huge ownership group upon his return to the mounting yard.
McNeil, who originally hails from the Murray Mallee town of Kerang, is an incredible ambassador for the local racing industry.
The president and committee of the Kerang Turf Club, together with the wider Kerang community, were quick to extend their congratulations to McNeil, and also his parents Daryl and Michelle, not forgetting his brother Logan who is also making impressive inroads as an apprentice jockey.
"The entire Kerang community are incredibly proud of him and all his achievements", said Kerang Turf Club president Colleen Shay.
McNeil is renowned for being incredibly humble and received significant congratulations across the weekend from peers and media, including well regarded Racing.com media commentator Ben Asgari, via social media platform Twitter.
"Love to see good things happening to good people. Jordy Childs inaugural star of the saddle. Jye McNeil first Group 1 and Mitch Freedman first G2 at Flemington. All supremely talented but all three down to earth, genuine and really decent individuals. Great stuff," Asgari said.
Love to see good things happening to good people. Jordy Childs inaugural star of the saddle. Jye McNeil first Group 1 and Mitch Freedman first G2 at Flemington. All supremely talented but all three down to earth, genuine and really decent individuals. Great stuff.— Ben Asgari (@BenAsgariRacing) October 5, 2019
Stoked on an amazing few days in the saddle with the highlight of my career winning the Group 1 Turnbull stakes. The messages and support has been overwhelming and humbling, can’t thank everyone enough. Apologies to anyone I may have missed— Jye McNeil (@JyeMcNeil) October 7, 2019
💪🏼👑 K W D 👑🍾 pic.twitter.com/kVFsg580YL
Kings Will Dream taking out the feature was undoubtedly the story of the day at racing headquarters, after overcoming a fractured pelvis and many months in rehabilitation to return to his best, to provide McNeil with his first Group 1 victory and Waller his fourth on the day, a feat that will go down in history.
McNeil has been rewarded for his hard work with rides from the top stables over the past 12 months and couldn't hide his delight at landing his first Group One victory and possible first Cox Plate ride.
"I feel ecstatic," he said.
"He's beaten the right horses and he's progressing in the right way, so I'd be rapt to have the ride."
Connections of the horse will now have a tough decision to make as to where the Group 1 winner will race next; the Cox Plate in three weeks, or is the Caulfield Cup the next ideal target?
Jo Taylor, in charge of Waller's Melbourne stable, said victory in the Cox Plate would be a fairytale.
"These horses are amazing animals, the things that they can go through and come back from," Taylor said.
"It's a fantastic feat for a horse like him, with the nature of the injury he had not to just race but be competitive at the top level, it's testament to the horses heart as well.
"We've always taken it one trial at a time, one race at a time with a horse like him knowing his history and he's stood up phenomenally well.
"He's clearly a champion in himself and he has the will to be here."
He's beaten the right horses and he's progressing in the right way, so I'd be rapt to have the ride.Jye McNeil
On Sunday, McNeil continued his huge weekend of racing guiding Reserve Street to victory in the Bairnsdale Cup.
There's no doubt a big Spring Carnival of Racing awaits.
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