'Really eerie': Omen behind Melbourne Cup's only female jockey

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Victoria Quay and Jamie Kah, pictured here after winning the G.H.Mumm Wakeful Stakes on VRC Derby Day.
Victoria Quay and Jamie Kah after winning the G.H.Mumm Wakeful Stakes on VRC Derby Day. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos via Getty Images)

If you believe in omens, you might want to start looking at Jamie Kah and Prince of Arran for the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.

Kah will be the only female jockey in the race that stops the nation, but she’s got some incredible history on her side.

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Looking to emulate Michelle Payne (the only female jockey ever to win the Melbourne Cup), Kah drew barrier one for the great race - the same barrier Payne won from on Prince of Penzance in 2015.

Coupled with the similarities between the names of Kah and Payne’s horses, some would be forgiven for feeling like the stars are aligning for Prince of Arran.

“We were sitting here together and we all looked at each other and shook our heads – it was really eerie,” Payne told Racenet after the barrier draw.

While Prince of Penzance was a 100-1 outsider, Prince of Arran is actually one of the race favourites after finishing third and second in the past two Melbourne Cups.

As for Kah, she heads into the Melbourne Cup in red-hot form and leads the Melbourne jockeys’ premiership.

She rode Victoria Quay to victory in the Wakeful Stakes at Derby Day on Saturday, while also steering Mr Quickie to victory in the prestigious Group One Toorak Handicap last month.

The 24-year-old has also ridden 100 winners in a single year on five separate occasions.

“She’s riding so well,” Payne said of Kah on Racing.com over the weekend.

“And she’s really been able to get some great experience over the past few months and years that have her ready for the challenge.

“I’m just feeling for her because I know what those nerves feel like in the days and hours leading into it, it’s a dream come true to be in a Melbourne Cup.”

Michelle Payne and Prince of Penzance, pictured here at the 2015 Melbourne Cup.
Michelle Payne rode Prince of Penzance to glory in the 2015 Melbourne Cup. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Kah said it will be a strange experience not having any fans or connections in attendance at Flemington due to COVID restrictions.

“It will be hard, being the first Melbourne Cup I’ve ridden in and not having my family and friends at Flemington,” Kah told the Australian.

“I’ve had a lot of support and I’m sure that will continue. I know my parents will be over in Adelaide cheering me on.

“I miss the ­atmosphere on race day at the moment, and I’m sure I’ll miss it most on Cup day.”

Prince of Arran one of the Melbourne Cup favourites

Although Prince Of Arran already has two Melbourne Cup placings to his credit, the Charlie Fellowes camp believe he is going into this year’s race in even better shape.

Fellowes’ travelling foreman and track rider, Aled Beech, said Prince Of Arran’s last-start fourth in the Caulfield Cup was proof of this as he suggested that run superseded his Melbourne Cup performances.

“The Caulfield Cup was arguably his best run here,” Beech said.

“There was a lot of hot competition in the race and the way he stormed home over the last couple of furlongs was incredible.”

Prince Of Arran was last at the 800 metres and produced the fastest closing sectionals of the race to finish fourth behind Verry Elleegant, running his last 200 metres in 11.92 seconds.

The eight-year-old is a $13 chance with TAB fixed odds for the Melbourne Cup.

Jamie Kah and Prince Of Arran, pictured here prior to the Caulfield Cup.
Jamie Kah rides Prince Of Arran prior to the Caulfield Cup. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos via Getty Images)

Beech said Prince Of Arran thrived in Australia and his form here was better than at home in England.

“He loves the style of racing here. It suits him down to the ground,” Beech said.

In seven local starts, Prince Of Arran has recorded two wins and four minor placings, including a third in the 2018 Melbourne Cup and a second last year.

Until his Caulfield Cup run, Prince Of Arran had been ridden in all of his Australian starts by Michael Walker.

Kah will have her first ride in the Melbourne Cup aboard Prince Of Arran.

Beech rode the gelding at Werribee last Wednesday and he was pleased with his work.

“It was a solid piece of work," he said.

“I was happy with the way he went around and he kept on quickening and he stretched out really well over the last couple of furlongs.”

with AAP

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