Jockey Jim Johnson, who won three Melbourne Cups, two Cox Plates and a Caulfield Cup, dies aged 92

Champion jockey and Australian hall of fame member Jim ‘Jimmy’ Johnson has died at the age of 92.

Racing Victoria, the Victorian Jockeys’ Association and the Victoria Racing Club each acknowledged the sadness of the occasion and paid homage to the decorated hoop.

Johnson was a three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey, having been successful on Gatum Gatum in 1963 and also in 1968 and 1969 on Rain Lover.

Johnson was also associated with champion Tobin Bronze aboard who he won a Caulfield Cup and two Cox Plates.

Johnson won four Adelaide jockeys’ premierships before he relocated to Melbourne where he was champion jockey in 1966-67.

He rode in Singapore from 1970 to 1973, winning the jockeys’ title there in 1972 and 1973.

When he retired in 1976, he had ridden 2,158 winners and claimed his place as one of the greats of Australian racing.

Johnson was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame in 2009.

Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson said Johnson was an exceptional jockey.

“Jimmy was a popular member of the racing community, a true gentleman and great ambassador for our sport long after his incredible success in the saddle.

“He was an active and passionate supporter of the racing industry in retirement as a regular face on the Melbourne Cup Tour and attendee at hall of fame functions.”


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Brad Rawiller injured in race fall in Bunbury; Evie Girl suffers heart attack at Caulfield

Perth-based Victorian jockey Brad Rawiller faces another extended period on the sidelines, recovering from a suite of injuries sustained in a race fall at Bunbury.

Scans on Wednesday evening at Bunbury regional hospital confirmed a “couple fractures in my back”, broken ribs, a fractured “wing bone” (shoulder blade) and a collapsed lung.

The 42-year-old experienced jockey went down in Race 2 after his mount, Imprudent, blundered about 200m from the winning post.

Rawiller, who was thrown off as Imprudent jolted to the left, narrowly escaped being trodden on by a backmarker.

The 25-time Group 1 jockey, who most recently took out the Perth feature Winterbottom Stakes last year only weeks after his relocation, remained conscious through the ordeal.

Rawiller spent four months on the sidelines from October 2018 recovering from multiple neck and collarbone fractures, along with concussion, sustained in a horror fall at Cranbourne.

The 42-year-old jockey had rides at Pinjarra and Ascot on Thursday and Saturday respectively, but now will not be available.


Matt Laurie-trained mare Evie Girl could not be saved after collapsing at Caulfield during Race 5, having suffered a suspected heart attack.

The four-year-old daughter of Ocean Park went down about 200m from the finishing post as jockey Noel Callow was in the process of pulling up the distressed galloper.

Evie Girl went into the race as a fancied second favourite.

She settled towards the back of the field in the 1800m benchmark 64 and dropped out of contention as the speed quickened approaching the home bend.

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Caulfield: Phillip Stokes and Terbium

Terbium was not meant to be at Caulfield on Saturday when trainer Phillip Stokes formulated a program for the talented gelding.

After showing he was back to his best with a stunning win at Gawler on December 19 when resuming, the five-year-old was to have been given more time before his next outing.

But Terbium has thrived since the five-length triumph, prompting a rethink and a trip back to Melbourne earlier than expected.

“We weren’t originally going to run him this close to his first-up win at Gawler,” Stokes said. “But (assistant trainer and son) Tommy and the team were so happy with him back in Adelaide, we decided to send him over early.

“I’d not seen him for a while, but he looks great and I’m sure is ready to run another nice race.

“He has done so well since the first-up run and this looks a nice race for him. He has got a bit of weight, but he seems to carry it.”

A Group 3 winner at Caulfield at just his fourth run in his first campaign, Terbium struggled to reproduce that form until the emphatic win last month following a 24-week spell.

Stokes said Terbium had gone from a Strathalbyn maiden win to Group 3 success in one preparation and then lost his way after he turned four.

“It happens to a lot of them,” he said. “He had that decent spell and has matured a bit more.”

Terbium opened as TAB favourite ($3.10) for the Benchmark 84 race over 1100m (Race 8 at 5.20pm) and there has already been support. Jamie Mott has the mount and he will carry topweight of 60kg.

The Victorian campaign may be only short, however, if Terbium runs well.

Stokes is considering returning him to Adelaide for the Durbridge Stakes over 1100m at Morphettville on January 30. The WFA challenge has been run in October, but was moved to January and the distance reduced from 1200m.

“We might send him back to Adelaide for something like the Durbridge, or he could stay here,” Stokes said. “We have a few options.”

Stokes also has last-start Wodonga maiden winner Arlark Mofeed, Moeen and Heyington Station engaged at Caulfield.

Moeen is third up from a spell in a benchmark 64 race over 1400m and Heyington Station rises to a benchmark 70 over 1200m after resuming from a 21-week spell with a Moonee Valley win over the same distance.

Michael Poy has retained the ride on Heyington Station.

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Caulfield meet a trappy day for punters

With Flemington’s traditional January 1 meeting attracting the better summer sprinters and stayers the first Saturday meeting of the new year at Caulfield has, not surprisingly, something of a mundane look.

But there are nine races on the card, and there will be nine winners; with a dozen or more runners scheduled to contest each event there are likely to be a fair few longshots making the frame or getting their heads in front, making it a trappy day for punters.

Is Price right?

Royal Ascot winners are no longer that uncommon in Australian racing, with the number of horses being bought from Europe growing each year.

And the Tom Dabernig-Ben Hayes stable will be looking to one such import, Biometric, to make his mark when he contests Caulfield’s 1400-metre Travis Stillman Handicap on Saturday with three-kilogram-claiming apprentice Will Price in the saddle.

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Melbourne Cup 2020 form: The best lead-up runs from Australia and aboard, Tiger Moth, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate

Half the battle when it comes to picking the Melbourne Cup winner is lining up formlines from Australia and abroad — and it can get tricky.

We’re here to help, with this in-depth look at some of the best lead-up runs towards the big 3200m handicap.

Watch the Melbourne Cup LIVE on, available on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >


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Trainer Chris Waller says Caulfield Cup winner Verry Elleegant coudn’t be more ready for the big race

She has room to move and is as tough as nails which gives leading training Chris Waller every confidence his star mare Verry Elleegant just needs luck in running to win the Melbourne Cup.

Waller said the only unknown was the extra 800m the Caulfield Cup winner needs to travel, having stormed to victory over 2400m last month and now needing to get the 3200m of the greatest staying test in Australian racing.

The star five-year-old also collected the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on her way to the first Tuesday in November and Waller said Verry Elleegant, who had a final workout on Monday morning, was ready to go.

“I’m as confident as you can be. There’s a lot of unknowns when you go to a Melbourne Cup,” he said on Monday about his $11 TAB chance.

“The Caulfield Cup was always great lead up form and you’d always follow the winner in to a Melbourne Cup. But things have changed a little bit with the international presence and how they train and nurture their horses.

“But she is a great chance and has come through the Cauflfield Cup very well and I think eveyrobody saw how tough she actually is. That extra 800m is the unknown but what a tough horse we’ve got. She’s won three times over 2400m in very big races, so only another 800m to go.”

Waller was happy enough with drawing barrier 15, which could give jockey Mark Zahra “options.”

“I honestly didn’t want her drawn too close because if she got caught in on the fence she can get a little bit erratic and with Mark Zahra was down there on the fence he’d have nowhere to go. At least he’s got a bit of room to move,” he said.

“She has a great turn of foot, the staying ability is there, it’s just a matter of luck in running.”

Waller also saddles up Finche, the $17 TAB chance which ran fifth in the Caulfield Cup, and seventh in last year’s Melbourne Cup.

It will be the seven-year-old son of Frankel’s third go at winning a Melbourne Cup, and Waller said this could be his best chance after drawing barrier six.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way he looks this morning,” Waller said.

“This is the best barrier draw he’s had. It’s not ideal that he has run in the Cup twice and hasn’t won. But we believe he is a genuine chance.”

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Verry Elleegant takes out the Caulfield Cup as Classique Legend wins The Everest at Royal Randwick

Classique Legend has won the richest race in Australia, the $15 million The Everest at Royal Randwick, while Verry Elleegant was victorious in the Group One Caulfield Cup.

Trained by Les Bridge, the grey Classique Legend picked up the $6.2 million winner’s cheque, with jockey Kerrin McEvoy winning the big race for a third time, ahead of Bivouac in second place and Gytrash in third.

Nature Strip and Eduardo led the race early, and the placings stayed the same into the straight, with Eduardo holding the lead inside the 300m before McEvoy moved Classique Legend to the front, to kick clear and win easily.

This gave the 81-year-old Bridge another big win to add to his 1987 Melbourne Cup victory with Kensei.

The slot holder for Classique Legend’s place in the field was the horse’s owner Bon Ho.


Bivouac, trained by James Cummings for Godolphin, came through for second place, worth $2.3 million. Gytrash, with Jason Collett on board, rounded out the placings to win $1.4 million for connections and slot holder Inglis.

“I’ve been telling everyone for three months [it would win],” Bridge told Channel Seven after the race.

“One of my greatest friends was Persy Sykes who I spent a lot of time with. He said it is all in the genes. Some horses just get all the good genes.

“I’m just repeating his words. This horse, he has a girth on him that deep and he just has a big V8 motor. It is unbelievable.”

McEvoy said Classique Legend had a big job to do in a race that was run at a breakneck speed.

“I looked up at the 600 [metres] and they were well in front, they were off,” he said.

“I thought, ‘Far out, if Nature Strip and the companions are back to their best they are going to take a bit of running down.’

“Full credit to my horse. With that cover and soft time of it early, he was able to really power when I asked him. Soon after I was confident I would pick them up.”

Jockey Mark Zahra rode Verry Elleegant to a narrow victory over Anthony Van Dyck (nearest) in the Caulfield Cup.(AAP: Racing Photos: Pat Scala)

In Melbourne, Chris Waller trained his first winner of the Caulfield Cup, as Verry Elleegant held off a fast-finishing Anthony Van Dyck to win the $5 million race, with The Chosen One in third.

Anthony Van Dyck came into the race with a big reputation as a winner of the English Derby.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained thoroughbred came rattling down the outside in the straight to challenge Verry Elleegant, who had hit the front ahead of The Chosen One with 250 to go.

In winning the first leg of the Melbourne spring carnival’s historic Cups double, Verry Elleegant will be one of the favourites to win the Melbourne Cup on November 3.


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Caulfield Cup 2020 live: updates, start time, how to watch, odds, field, finishing order

In a treat for racing fans around the country, just one hour after the richest show on turf is done at Randwick, the wide-open Caulfield Cup will get going in Melbourne.

There will be no crowd this year due to COVID-19, but the 143rd instalment of the 2400-metre race is well and truly on.

Follow the Caulfield Cup in the live blog below!

The winner of the Group 1 showdown will take home $3 million of the $5 million prizemoney on offer, and make a statement ahead of the Melbourne Cup next month.

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Caulfield Cup 2020 form guide: Field, betting, odds, tips, start time

The first of the big three spring feature races is upon us, with a capacity field of 18 set to face the starter in today’s G1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).

Complicating matters is the threat of rain, with 3-10mm forecast to fall in Melbourne.

With that in mind, we could see a bit of give in the ground by the time the race rolls around at 5.15pm (AEDT).

The rail will be in the true position after being out 10m for Wednesday’s Blue Sapphire meeting.



A win over superstar stayer Stradivarius last start obviously reads well and it was certainly no fluke. The Aidan O’Brien-trained galloper has won the G1 Epsom Derby over this trip, beating Japan, and finished 2nd to the world’s best racehorse (according to Longines’ rankings) Ghaiyyath in the G1 Coronation Cup (2414m) at Newmarket three-back. The carpark draw means he’ll probably roll forward in a race where they are unlikely to burn early. A knock on him, apart from the 58.5kg, is the fact he was beaten 14L the last time he raced outside of Europe. His class is obvious – it just comes down to whether he can bring his best form to Australia. He probably doesn’t want too much rain but a surface worse than a Soft 6 seems pretty unlikely.

TAB odds: 6.5


The Godolphin gelding is not the same horse we saw a couple of preparations ago but his form this campaign has been okay on good tracks. He was clearly the best of the closers in the G2 Chelmford Stakes (1600m) on resumption, before making no impact at all second-up over the same trip in the G1 George Main Stakes. While no match for Kolding, his 2nd in the G2 Hill Stakes (2000m) was solid for this longer journey fourth-up. A wet track would see his chances increase significantly (needs Soft 6) but his G1 record in Melbourne is a real concern (7:0-0-0).

TAB odds: 26


Vow And Declare finished 2nd in this race last year with 52.5kg before going on to win the Melbourne Cup. He rises to 57kg this year and his form is nowhere near as strong. The O’Brien-trained gelding has been unplaced in four runs since the G1 Australian Cup (2000m) and although he was only beaten 2.8L in the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) last start, others here were much better than him in that.

TAB odds: 34


Buckhurst’s last couple don’t look great on paper but he did have 63.5kg last start and was set a task after settling well back. Prior to that he spun his wheels on a wet track at The Curragh. If you judge him on his 1.5L win over Sir Dragonet three starts back, then he has to be considered some sort of hope. His one placing over this trip came behind Norway, who hasn’t shown a great deal in Australia for Chris Waller.

TAB odds: 11


Mirage Dancer finished 3rd in this event last year (carrying 56kg) as a $16 chance. He has mixed his form a little since then but he put his best hoof forward to take out the G1 Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick last start. A brilliant steer by Nash Rawiller certainly aided his cause there, but he still had to pull out plenty to outgun the promising Mugatoo. He handles all surfaces and is well-weighted in this. A repeat of last year’s run would see him figure in the finish and his $26 quote looks overs.

TAB odds: 17


This Australian Bloodstock import ran really well in this race last year, coming from beyond midfield to finish 6th, beaten 1.8L. He then measured up at the top level in Sydney over the autumn, finishing 2nd to Verry Elleegant (albeit a distant 2nd) in the G1 Tancred Stakes (2400m). His form since resuming looks very average on paper but he wasn’t disgraced with 58kg in The Metrop last start. Rain could lead to improvement at monster odds.

TAB odds: 71


This mare was brilliant in Sydney over the autumn and she’s carried that form through to the spring. The former Kiwi took out the G1 Winx Stakes (1400m), defeating Fierce Impact who won the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at his next start, before encountering some traffic issues in the G1 George Main Stakes (1600m). She atoned for that unplaced effort with victory in the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) last start. The margin there was only narrow but she travelled wide on a firm deck and was certainly there to be beaten over the final 100m. The likelihood of rain falling on Saturday is massive and if the track is a Soft 5 or worse, she’s the one they have to beat.

TAB odds: 5


This Andrew Balding-trained raider won well over this trip three-back before taking out the G3 Henry II Stakes (3264m) in comfortable fashion, with Cross Counter some 12.3L away in 3rd. He finished a well-held 4th in the G2 Lonsdale Cup (3270m) last start but was only 2.5L behind brilliant stayer Enbihaar. He should be able to make the most of barrier two, with the lead up for the taking in a race lacking natural on-pacers.

TAB odds: 26


Finche endured a tough run in this race last year but battled on well for 5th, beaten 1.6L. He was off the scene for over 300 days following his 7th in the Melbourne Cup but he certainly lost nothing over the break based on his form this campaign. The Waller import resumed with a close-up 3rd in the G2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) before just missing out in a three-way finish to the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) last start. He’ll strip much fitter from that and he shouldn’t have any issues getting one-off, or leading, if Lane sends him forward from his middle draw.

TAB odds: 11


The popular veteran had a brilliant spring in Melbourne last year, winning the G3 Geelong Cup (2400m) on his way to another placing in the Melbourne Cup. He was flogged in the G1 Gold Cup (4014m) two-back but warmed up nicely late to finish a distant 3rd to Enable over this distance last start. The Melbourne Cup is obviously his target race again, but he did run well in the G2 Herbert Power at this track/distance when first-up in Australia last year. The draw probably means he’ll be ridden forward.

TAB odds: 17


Master Of Wine made rapid progress in the autumn, finishing his campaign with a 4th behind Addeybb in the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m). Unsurprisingly he came into the spring with big wraps on him but his first-up effort in the G1 Winx Stakes (1400m) was underwhelming. He was better second-up in the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) – better, not brilliant – before working home well for 5th in the Turnbull (2000m) last start. Verry Elleegant beat him home by 0.8L there but he meets her 2.5kg better at the weights in this. Barrier seven looks the perfect draw for him with Williams piloting.

TAB odds: 8


This Kiwi stayer looked set for a big campaign when he won impressively first-up at Flemington over 1700m. However, his two runs since have been poor – finishing 5.05L off Chapada in last week’s G2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m). The blinkers go back on but it’s hard to see him being a factor here.

TAB odds: 71


Last year’s Victoria Derby (2500m) winner has failed to salute the judge in eight runs since. He was a bit disappointing in Sydney but his two efforts this campaign have been encouraging. The Freedman gelding worked home well without threat in the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), before catching the eye with a fast-finishing 6th in the Turnbull. He clocked the fastest final 600m/400m/200m splits and appears to be crying out for this trip. The very wide draw means he’s going to be spotting his rivals a huge start here though.

TAB odds: 21


He’s very genuine this SA galloper, finishing out of the placings just six times in his 19 starts. Two of those unplaced runs have come at his last couple, but he was only 1.9L away in the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) and 0.3L off Verry Elleegant in the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) last start. Pike, yet another different jockey for this horse, may follow Finche across to look for a spot in the first three of four.

TAB odds: 15


The OTI mare performed well in Australia last spring, finishing 2nd to Prince Of Arran in the G3 Geelong Cup (2400m) before taking out the G3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) in soft fashion. Her form since has been average, but she’s gone around in some pretty hot races. Her last-start run in the Ebor looks horrible on paper but she completely bombed the start there, so it’s worth forgiving the margin. She maps nicely from barrier four.

TAB odds: 34


Aktau won his way into this race via the Mornington Cup (2400m) earlier in the year but his two efforts since resuming have been very disappointing. The Moroney gelding was beaten out of sight in the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and pulled up with no obvious issues. It’s pretty hard to recommend him.


The Waller mare has won just 1 from 12 but that was a G1 race (the SA Oaks) and she’s placed in the G1 ATC Oaks (2400m) and the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m). She surprised more than a few with her effort in the Turnbull as a $71 hope, sprinting hard late to finish a head off Verry Elleegant. She drops to just 51kg and definitely has claims if she can repeat her last-start performance. She should enjoy an economical run around midfield from barrier five.

TAB odds: 13


This Moroney gelding raced okay over the winter without setting the world on fire. Lord Belvedere had his measure a couple of times and Sasko and Sin to Win beat him home in the Listed Banjo Paterson Series Final (2600m). However, a little 77-day break has really sparked something in the 5YO, with his two runs this preparation well above what we saw last campaign. While he was visually impressive winning the G2 Herbert Power (2400m) last Saturday, that form may not be the right form this year.

TAB odds: 21


19. Raheen House — Not going well enough and will likely settle in a different postcode from the draw.

20. San Huberto — The OTI import is a Listed winner over this trip and a G2 winner over 3000m. He’s showing staying promise but he might find these a bit sharp first-up in Australia.

21. Oceanex — The Price and Kent-trained mare has only beaten a handful of runners home in three runs this preparation.

22. Le Don De Vie — Freedman import who should win races in Australia – but not this one.

This article originally appeared in and was reproduced with permission

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Caulfield Cup 2020 form guide, start time, odds, tips, favourite, how to watch, who will win, betting

Usually, the historic Caulfield Cup is a highlight for sport fans in the months in between footy and cricket.

Things are very different in Covid 2020, with the footy still on alongside the bat and ball fare, but one thing remains the same: the rush and push around 2400m at Caulfield this Saturday, for the 143rd running of Australia’s second-biggest Cup, will be compelling viewing.

We say this every year (it’s a coping mechanism in case our tips come nowhere), but this truly is one of the most open Caulfield Cups in years.

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