AFL legend lashes jockey in ugly Melbourne Cup controversy

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Pictured left, trainer Denis Pagan and jockey Glen Boss on the right.
Trainer Denis Pagan (left) has hit back angrily at jockey Glen Boss' comments about his Melbourne Cup prospect. Pic: Getty

Former AFL coach-turned horse racing trainer Denis Pagan has reacted angrily to suggestions from a leading jockey that his charge Johnny Get Angry "shouldn’t be" in the Melbourne Cup.

Johnny Get Angry turned heads after winning the Group One Victoria Derby 12 months ago but the recent form of the horse has been anything but as spectacular.

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The New Zealand-bred gelding's last two starts have seen him beaten by a combined 48 lengths.

Champion jockey Glen Boss - who famously won three straight Melbourne Cups on Maybe Diva - made no bones about Johnny Get Angry's inclusion in the 24-horse field.

“He shouldn’t be in the race. He’s going to attract no turnover, no money,” Boss said on radio on Wednesday.

“He’s simply going to do nothing for the race, apart from being a bit of a speed hump.

“His form suggests he shouldn’t be in the race, and you’ve got to have the best 24 runners in the Melbourne Cup to create excitement, generate turnover and make the race a better race.”

Johnny Get Angry is currently a $71 outsider with TAB after qualifying on the back of that shock Victoria Derby victory last year.

Pagan - who coached North Melbourne to two AFL premierships in the 1990s - had only been a trainer for around six months when his horse claimed the famous Group One victory.

Johnny Get Angry won the 2020 Victoria Derby to give trainer Denis Pagan his first Group One win.
Johnny Get Angry earned a Melbourne Cup spot off the back of winning last year's Victoria Derby. Pic: Getty

Denis Pagan slams 'big mouth' Glen Boss

The 74-year-old has been left fuming by the suggestion that his charge doesn't deserve to be in this year's Melbourne Cup.

“He’s in the field and he’s earned his spot, regardless of what anyone says,” Pagan told Punters. “He won the Derby, he’s earned his spot.

“I’m not interested in what Glen Boss is saying, I’m only interested in my own horse. Once a big mouth, always a big mouth.”

Pagan admits the assessment of another top jockey, Damien Oliver, has left him excited about realising a "dream" with Johnny Get Angry in the Melbourne Cup.

“It’s been a dream the whole way through (to have a Melbourne Cup runner), but I wasn’t going to run him after the Geelong Cup.

“I had every vet check done on him, he had the RV scans done on him, I had my own vet X-ray his knees, scope him — everything we could possibly do, and there was nothing wrong with him.

“I thought, ‘Geez, what’s going on here?’

“I got Damien Oliver to ride him in work on Monday morning after I took the headgear off, the tongue tie, the crossover noseband, the blinkers.

“He galloped superbly, running his last 400m in 22.7 seconds — that’s not a bad effort at the end of 1800m.

“I didn’t expect to be pushing on to the Cup, but Damien got off him and said, ‘You’d be mad not to run him’.”

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