Owner breaks COVID protocols to celebrate Melbourne Cup win

Owner Brae Sokolski broke COVID protocols by jumping the mounting yard fence to celebrate the win of Verry Elleegant in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

Sokolski has a share in the ownership of both Verry Elleegant and the runner-up, Cup favourite Incentivise, and was on course for the first time this spring to see his stars race.

He has been involved in winners of many of Australia’s biggest races, including last Saturday’s Victoria Derby winner Hitotsu, but Sokolski said winning the Melbourne Cup was the most humbling moment in his life.

But post the adrenalin rush that saw him storm the storm the mounting yard, Sokolski was apologetic.

“I’m so apologetic but I just wanted to be with the mare and also with Incentivise,” Sokolski said.

“The adrenalin got the better of me, but at these moments, they’re once in a lifetime.”

Sokolski said he was the luckiest human on the planet having not just the winner but also the quinella.

While he was able to celebrate the victory on course with family and friends, Sokolski felt for some of his fellow owners that are stuck in New Zealand.

“They would love to have been here and we’re so close,” Sokolski said.

“The Australian owners are here which is fantastic but ‘boys back in New Zealand, love you guys and we’re going to celebrate hard, and we’ll make up for it once we can’.”

Sokolski was full of praise for Verry Elleegant and all involved with the Chris Waller stable.

“Honestly, she is incredible, and to bring up her tenth Group 1, a Melbourne Cup, that places her, in my mind, in the upper echelons of the pantheon of Australia’s greatest racehorses,” Sokolski said.

“She will not be out of place amongst the greatest horses we’ve seen.

“To win a Caulfield Cup, a Melbourne Cup as a mare on top of all those weight-for-age races, it is extraordinary.

“And what a ride from J-Mac, the training performance from Chris Waller, Jo Taylor, the whole team.

“That’s the proper A-Team.

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