Landing the Melbourne Cup trifecta set Andrew Crowe on the course towards the inaugural SuperCoach Racing champion.
Crowe, from Adelaide Hills in South Australia, was unable to be run down in the second half of the Flemington carnival to claim the $25,000 major prize.
His stable The Creamery hit the lead on Cup Day after he loaded up with six Melbourne Cup runners, a move which paid dividends when Vow and Declare won and Prince Of Arran and Il Paradiso were promoted to second and third on protest.
He also nominated Prince Of Arran as captain “because he never runs a bad race over here”.
“That was a big round for me, finished 10th for the round,” Crowe said.
Crowe, who grew up in Seymour on his family’s agistment property and has “a real passion” for horses, knew he would be hard to catch when Miami Bound won the Victoria Oaks two days later.
“I followed it pretty closely from the halfway mark when I got to about 16th, I thought ‘I better start taking it seriously’,” the 35-year-old said.
“I knew I had a really good Cup Day, I think I hit the lead on Cup Day.
“I had Miami Bound as captain in the Oaks and when that got up I was like ‘Oh wow, this might actually happen’.”
Heading into the final round on Stakes Day with a 62-point lead, Crowe didn’t stray from his method of picking favourites and horses most likely to score.
“I knew for anyone to catch me they’d have to basically get roughies and go wide, and have to get really lucky,” he said.
But his last-minute decision to remove the captaincy from Bivouac a week earlier proved decisive.
Bivouac was the odds-on favourite to win the Manikato Stakes at the Valley but had no luck from barrier one.
“I remember on one of the podcasts (I was listening to) they said the one knock on Bivouac was barrier one he might get stuck on the fence,” Crowe said.
“I dropped him as captain from and it turned out as they said. That was pretty much the difference between me winning and losing.”
Crowe said the key to his success was knowing who the favourites were and his advice to other players is to “watch, listen and read as much as you can.”
“I’m no racing expert so I listened to podcasts, TV shows, read as much as I could online and in newspapers to have as much information as I could when picking my team,” he said.
“Don’t over complicate it. I didn’t pick any roughies. Picked the most obvious team.
“Always look for scratchings on race morning and have a look at races with small fields and pick off the points there.”