King of the track
By TONY WHITE
JOCKEY Michael Cahill's thrilling win aboard King Rex in yesterday's $120,000 Ramornie Hcp (1200m) at Grafton added a unique chapter to the feature race's long history.
The 38-year-old Brisbane-based hoop joined his younger brother Matthew as a winner of the prestigious July Racing Carnival event.
Matthew Cahill, 36, won the 1998 Ramornie aboard Kidlat.
They are the only brothers to win the Ramornie, first run in 1917.
"Winning this is a tremendous thrill," Cahill said after the Stephen Hood-trained four-year-old beat hot favourite Mastermind and a hard charging Sir Dan, trained locally by John Shelton, in a tight finish with less than a length separating the first four horses.
"Our family has a lot of history at Grafton.
"Dad (Ossie) was closely involved with the Grafton Cup winner Phos (1949) and I've also been lucky enough to win a Cup on Desk Top Lover (2001)."
Prior to Parkes-born Cahill moving to his current base in Brisbane, he spent many months riding out of Grafton for NSW country trainers Jack Gallagher and Jim Milton.
While records show the Cahills as the only brothers to win the Ramornie, Bill Wade won the event in 1961, 1966 and 1968, while his son John snared the race aboard Razor Sharp in 1981.
Cahill, the winner of three Group One races, including this year's Stradbroke aboard St Basil, began his career in Cowra, the small mid-western NSW township where his father still trains.
Subsequently he has forged an international career, leaving Brisbane for Hong Kong in February 2002 then crossing to Macau where he was the leading rider, including a win in the Macau Derby aboard Documentary.
While Cahill is accustomed to big-race success, for Rosehill trainer Stephen Hood, King Rex's win was the biggest of his career.
King Rex began his racing under astute Dubbo trainer Tom Mulholland, but due to his ability and a 30-year friendship between Stephen and his father Michael Hood with King Rex's part-owner, Dubbo bookmaker Peter Carolan, the gelding was transferred to Hood's care.
King Rex has developed into a class sprinter, winning eight of 20 starts. By American stallion Carry The Crown, King Rex has earned connections nearly $240,000.
Cahill gave the gelding a perfect ride up close to the lead in a fast-run race.