Once Eales’ earth moving company EA Hire furnished him with enough “coin” to dabble in his love of horseracing, Shocking was one of the first horses he bought.
Two years later, the stallion he bought for A$64,000 (K154,627) and named for a headline delivered him the biggest prize in Australian racing with a powerful win from international pair Crime Scene and Mourilyan.
Shocking’s win in front of a Flemington crowd of 102,181 and under grey clouds destroyed the fairytale of South Australian farm horse Alcopop and of Bart Cummings’ attack on a 13th Melbourne Cup.
But it is still a story of hard work having its rewards.
“Wildest dream come true, absolutely mind blowing,” an ecstatic Eales said among a mob of family and friends after the race.
“I love horses, I’ve had them all my life, my father had them and now I’ve got a bit of coin behind me, I thought I’d have a bit of a crack.”
The son of a Cairns butcher now has A$3.3 million (K8 million) in prize money to add to the already substantial coin he made himself through what grew from one excavator into Australia’s largest earth moving hire company.
And the celebrations went as far as the two highest offices in the land, with prime minister Kevin Rudd and national cricket captain Ricky Ponting both picking the A$10 chance.
While Cummings rued missing out on his 13th Cup when second favourite Viewed finished seventh, Shocking’s trainer Mark Kavanagh was celebrating his first Cup to turn around what had been a disastrous spring carnival.
He had firm Derby favourite Shamoline Warrior scratched on the morning of the race last Saturday, weeks after Maldivian and Cats Whisker suffered carnival-ending injuries.
“It’s not about how many times you’re knocked down, it’s about how you get up,” Kavanagh said.
But even he didn’t think he’d get up this far.
“I didn’t expect to win it. It hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said.
And it’s a dream for jockey Corey Brown, who came second by a nose on board Bauer last year, second in 2002 and was injured in a fall in an early race on Cup day in 2007.
“I’ve finally won the Melbourne Cup,” he said.
“My dream has come true, I can’t describe it, it’s unbelievable.”
The international starters proved their European form with Crime Scene providing giant stable Godolphin with its third second placing in the Cup, finishing three quarters of length from Shocking, while Mourilyan will boost the coffers of his owner, Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, by A$420,000 (K1.01 million).
The most fancied import, Changingoftheguard, was a dramatic scratching after vets declared him lame on the morning of the race, infuriating trainer David Hayes.
Victorian and NSW punters bet a record A$95.6 million (K231 million) on the Cup, but lost their sentimental money on A$4.80 favourite Alcopop who finished sixth. – AAP