Female jockey under fire after Cup


Jamie Kah guided Prince of Arran to a third-placed finish in her debut Melbourne Cup but the 24-year-old has been called out for two critical moments in the race that may have cost her victory.

Prince of Arran has become a cult hero in Australia after consistently producing great performances, including a runner-up finish in last year's Melbourne Cup and third-placed in the big race in 2018.

He came storming home at the finish and looked the only horse in the field with the finishing power to chase down runaway leaders Twilight Payment and Tiger Moth, but ran out of track as the front two held on.

It left Kah, who started from the inside after a dream draw of barrier one, in the firing line post-race.

Group one winning jockey Dwayne Dunn, who co-hosted the coverage of the race broadcast in America, was critical of the debutant's failure to properly use barrier one to its fullest advantage.

"If Jamie Kah had her time over again she would have been more inclined to use that barrier and put him closer in the run," Dunn said. "He got in that midfield position, a little bit of ruckus, shuffled back, she was able to extricate out of that and get to the clear opening but in hindsight she would have liked to have ridden him with more urgency early and put him closer to the lead."

But that wasn't the only moment she might have wanted back.

Punters.com.au expert Nick Hluchaniuk said Kah was also left to rue a decision to move off the rail with about 600m left in the race, where Prince of Arran was caught up in heavy traffic.

"After being held-up on the turn, he flew home for third with the fastest 400m-200m sectional and 200m to finish. It's always easy in hindsight, but had Kah remained on the fence a run would've appeared as Finche began to tire in the straight," Hluchaniuk wrote. "It was the run Glen Boss ended up taking on Sir Dragonet."

Even Kah's mother, Karen, said "she should've come out earlier" in a video the jockey shared on social media of her family watching the race.

Sky Racing form analyst Brad Davidson also said Kah left her run "a touch late" but she put it down to bad luck.

"He was super unlucky," Kah said post-race. "He really deserves it. He just had no luck on the turn."

Prince of Arran's trainer Charlie Fellowes went a step further, thanking Kah for a "lovely ride".

"He was behind a wall of horses at the wrong time and got out a bit too late. He flew. He's run a massive race again. He is an incredible horse," Fellowes said.

"You can't be gutted running third in the Melbourne Cup. I'm not gutted at all. I'm incredibly proud of him. I felt we got our run stopped at a really bad point in the race and the way he was running home at the end, it wouldn't have had to be too much further and we would have given Twilight Payment something to think about."

Herald Sun sports journalist Glenn McFarlane also described it as a "great ride" from Kah, who entered the race in the form of her life after riding four separate winners on Cox Plate Day.

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Lloyd Williams, who made it seven Melbourne Cups as the owner of Twilight Payment, had put it simply on Monday morning when assessing the chances of Prince of Arran in Tuesday's race: "You couldn't find anyone riding any better in the world."

No doubt she'll back next year and hopefully Prince of Arran will be too.

Originally published as Female jockey under fire after Cup