PURE elation was felt by Jewish businessman Brae Sokolski at the 2021 Lexus Melbourne Cup on Tuesday when two horses he part owns – New Zealand mare Verry Elleegant and Cup favourite Incentivise – came first and second respectively in what’s known as the race that stops the nation.
Overcome with emotion when accepting the trophy from Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau, Sokolski – like the 10,000 spectators in attendance at Flemington Racecourse – was left in awe by Verry Elleegant’s powerful finish, as she sped past the post, four lengths in front.
In doing so, she became the first mare to win the Cup since Makybe Diva in 2005, and the first horse in 160 years to win from barrier 18.
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“What an extraordinary racehorse, and you guys have all beared witness to not just racing history, but an historic moment in Australian sport,” Sokolski said.
“Because this mare has just taken herself into the pantheon of the greatest racehorses this nation has ever seen!”
“To do what she did today with 57kg – with that type of authority – to bring up her 10th Group One win on the back of the Caulfield Cup [victory] last year, is truly phenomenal.
“I just cannot tell you how precious she is to all of us involved …we love you dearly Elly!”
Sokolski congratulated and thanked trainer Chris Wallace and jockey James McDonald for winning their first Melbourne Cup too.
“Chris, we [the ownership group] couldn’t have done this without you – you have handled this mare with incredible acuity and patience, and it’s a testament to your training capability,” he said.
“And James – wow, what a ride! Even by Mac’s standards, that was one right out of the top shelf.
“I just want to say thank you so much to all my family and friends – I love you so much and it’s so special to enjoy this moment. Let’s party and enjoy this!”
Sokolski said he was also incredibly proud of Incentivise’s second place, describing that horse – which he wisely invested in back in June after being mesmerised by its 9.5-length win at Eagle Farm – as “my other baby!”
“He ran a phenomenal race, and his time will come, so thanks Moods [trainer Peter Moody] and all the team with Incentivise.”