Just 38 days after their West Coast heroes ruled the MCG in a famous AFL grand final victory, these three jockeys will today fly the flag again for WA in search of another big-stage sporting success.
Damien Oliver has won the Melbourne Cup three times and would love a fourth, while Mark Zahra and Damian Lane want desperately what their one-time idol has got.
Between them they have ridden to more than $300 million in prize money, but all that becomes a blur today when they chase one of Australian sport’s most famous prizes.
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“It (winning the cup) opens a lot of doors for you,” Oliver said. “For me, you can win so many other Group 1s throughout the racing calendar and not really be known to the general public.
“But when you win the Melbourne Cup, it’s true that it’s the race that stops the nation and you become more recognised outside of racing after that. We’ve got a really strong WA presence in the jockeys’ room.
“It’s great to see these guys come over and challenge themselves and be successful at the elite level over here. It’s really good and makes you feel proud as a West Australian.
“They’re going all right, don’t you worry, and when I move on, I think it will be in safe hands.”
All three jockeys said their support of the Eagles provided an outlet for them during the grinding year in the saddle.
Oliver said in a premiership-winning year, they gave quite vivid reminders of the success to their Victorian counterparts.
“We’re all probably as strong as one another in presence, the three of us,” Oliver said. “Obviously, the Eagles don’t play a lot of games here in Melbourne, but most of us go to the games we can and we love it.”