Geelong Cup celebrates Media Puzzle’s two triumphs
THIS year’s Geelong Cup will celebrate the pivotal role the race played in one of Australia’s greatest sporting moments – Media Puzzle winning the 2002 Melbourne Cup with jockey Damien Oliver.
It has been 20 years since Australia held its collective breath as Oliver rode in the 142nd Melbourne Cup, a week after his brother Jason died in a tragic racing fall. When Media Puzzle sprinted clear of the field in the final 400 metres, a surge of emotion rippled from Flemington to living rooms and pubs across Australia and the world. Oliver had done it and he’d done it for his brother.
Media Puzzle’s record-breaking win at Geelong paved the way for that historic moment. No win at the Geelong Cup would’ve meant no ride for Oliver in the Melbourne Cup. Luckily, Irish trainer Dermot Weld took a big gamble and it paid off, twice.
Two decades on, Oliver is proud of the legacy he created for his brother.
“I wanted to win for Jason while doing justice to Media Puzzle. I had such a smooth ride, it felt like Jason was riding with me. I tried not to get too caught up in the emotion of it but I was proud that I could create a legacy for him. I’m honoured that the Geelong Racing Club is paying tribute to a moment that meant a lot to our family and to the entire racing community,” Oliver said.
Geelong Racing Club (GRC) chief executive officer Luke Rayner is thrilled that Damien has signed on as a 2022 Cup ambassador to mark the 20-year anniversary of his 2002 wins.
“Ollie is a true champion and I can’t think of a better ambassador. It’s been 20 years since his history-making double win on Media Puzzle and two years since we could welcome a crowd. That’s why we’re making the bet365 Geelong Cup bigger and better than ever.”
The GRC has commissioned Barwon Heads artist Fred Thompson from Kin+Ko to capture the moment Oliver won at Flemington and looked to the sky to thank his brother, Jason. The 1.8-meter tall painting will take centre stage at the Geelong Cup and will be permanently housed at the Geelong Racing Club.
Oliver is joined by Alex Nairn and Rebecca Share as the bet365 Geelong Cup 2022 ambassadors. Ms Nairn is a stable hand at Danny O’Brien Racing and the founder of Moose Cow Fish, a streetwear brand. Ms Share is a Master Milliner and founder of Hat Atelier, a company that teaches the art of hat-making.
The bet365 Geelong Cup will be held on October 19. Hospitality packages are selling fast. For bookings and information, head to grc.com.au