Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Danny O’Brien can’t take a break from celebrating just yet.
O’Brien felt a bit greedy for hoping to claim his first $1 million VRC Oaks on Thursday, two days after winning the $8 million Melbourne Cup for the first time.
The trainer’s dream Cup carnival continued when Damien Oliver guided Miami Bound to victory in the jockey’s fifth win in the feature race for three-year-old fillies.
The elated pair are close mates who have known each other since O’Brien was a strapper for ‘Cups King’ Bart Cummings and Oliver an apprentice for trainer Lee Freedman.
“This is a very special race because my really good friends own the horse and my really good friend rode the horse,” O’Brien said.
Flemington-based O’Brien woke up on Thursday hoping for a win, but secretly dreading the thought of another big night celebrating.
“I thought I can’t do another round of going out and partying,” he said.
“Anyway, they’re good problems to have.”
O’Brien snuck out of the party early when Miami Bound won the Group Two Wakeful Stakes on Derby Day on Saturday.
But there was no ducking out of Tuesday night’s celebrations after the Australian-owned, bred, trained and ridden Vow And Declare won the Melbourne Cup. Nor would there be any respite on Thursday night.
The Melbourne Cup-Oaks double is a big turnaround for O’Brien, who had fought and won a three-year, $1 million battle to clear his name over cobalt doping allegations.
Had he not, O’Brien would have been serving out the final months of a four-year disqualification and ineligible for both races.
Instead, O’Brien has had a week he will never forget on his home track.
“Ultimately everything you do during the year, nothing is as big as Melbourne Cup week,” he said.
‘It’s such a fantastic event. It’s as good a racing carnival as there is in the world, in my opinion.
“These are the days that you remember forever.”
Oliver needed a bit of help to get Miami Bound into the starting gates for the Group One race, after the stubborn filly refused to move.
The win meant Miami Bound emulated her mother Arapaho Miss, who won the Oaks 12 years ago.
A later start on Oaks Day, with the feature race not run until 5.50pm, failed to boost crowd numbers on a wet and cold day.
Attendance dropped by 4000 to 57,296 on Thursday, the lowest in 25 years and continuing a trend of lower crowd numbers throughout this year’s Melbourne Cup carnival.
The number of racegoers on Cup day fell for a fourth straight year to 81,408, the lowest attendance since 1995.
Saturday’s crowd was down 11,000 to 80,214, amid heavy rain.