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Outsider gives jockey his shot with Bolt

Jockey Brenton Avdulla thought he’d missed his chance to get a selfie with his idol Usain Bolt.

He needn’t have worried.

Avdulla guided 100-1 shot Lasqueti Spirit to a shock win in the $1 million VRC Oaks on Thursday, with the world’s fastest man watching on.

Avdulla took a bow after the win – copping a $1000 fine for the celebration – before getting that photo with Bolt.

The former Melbourne boy had not even planned to come down from Sydney for the Melbourne Cup carnival.

“When I had the chance to come down and ride her, even though she’s a 100-1 shot, you jump at the opportunity to ride at Flemington during the big four days.

“To go away with the feature, I can’t believe it.”

With Yankee Rose rated a shoo-in to win the race, Lasqueti Spirit part-owner Frank Cook said their only chance was to go to the front with the horse bred to be a sprinter.

It worked.

“We won the VRC Oaks with a sprinter,” Cook said.

“We just decided we’d sprint the whole way.”

Frank and Christine Cook are among Australia’s biggest racehorse owners and have had shares in many Group One winners.

Part-owner Mick Fenech was savouring his first, although sad that his brother Ray was not there to enjoy it with him.

“I lost a brother a few weeks ago. He would have been here.”

Fenech would have been ecstatic with even a place for his first runner in a Group One race, after a 25-year association with trainer Lee Curtis’ stable.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said.

“I’ve had winners at Randwick but never anything like this.”

Curtis was “over the moon”.

“I’m going to be shaking for a day or two.”

Bolt was left a little shaken, too, after watching the Oaks runners parade before the race.

He and close friend and fellow athlete John Steffensen had to jump out of the way when Eleonora kicked out, just as she was walking past them.

Afterwards the two sprinters staged a brief mock dash down the straight which Bolt won by running at nothing like his usual pace.

After presenting the Oaks trophy, he said did have one regret about his first day betting at the races.

“I’m sorry I didn’t get a good tip to win a lot of money on this horse.”

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