For Ben Hayes, it’s a good omen that his first Melbourne Cup runner has the same barrier, weight, owner and jockey’s first names as when his grandfather first won Australia’s greatest race three decades ago.
Champion trainer Colin Hayes won the Cup twice with At Talaq in 1986 and Beldale Ball in 1980, while his son and fellow Australian racing Hall of Famer David Hayes was victorious in 1994 with Jeune.
“At Talaq won it 30 years ago and he drew the same barrier and he’s got the same owner and the same name jockey,” Ben Hayes said on Monday.
“So we’ve got a couple of omens. We’re hoping it could work out.”
Like At Talaq, Almoonqith will jump from barrier 19, carry the same weight at 54.5kg and be ridden by a Michael – in this case Michael Walker, while in 1986 it was Michael Clarke.
Like At Talaq and Jeune, Almoonqith is owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Ben Hayes joined his father and cousin Tom Dabernig in their Lindsay Park training partnership in August.
“It’s a privilege to have a runner in the Melbourne Cup,” the 26-year-old said.
His dad had some words of advice for handling the pressure of a Melbourne Cup: “Just relax and enjoy it.”