Jye McNeil lost his drive after winning the 2020 Melbourne Cup but the desire has returned

After scaling racing’s Mount Everest on the first Tuesday last November, Jye McNeil now admits he lost interest in racing for a while and struggled to regain his mojo.

The young jockey was the feel-good story of last year’s Melbourne Cup as the new father won the $8million Cup with his first ride in the great race.

As he prepares to ride in Queensland on Saturday for the first time since he was a junior rider, McNeil has for the first time opened up about how his career hit a flat spot several months after the euphoria of Cup glory.

“It was as though I had suddenly achieved everything that I had set out to do in my career, everyone wants to win a Melbourne Cup, and when it happened to me at a young age I lost my way a little bit in terms of drive and passion,” McNeil told The Courier-Mail.

“My lifestyle was really busy straight after the Cup and when it was fresh in everyone’s mind, but after a space of time it gradually went back to normal and I struggled a fair bit.

“I was probably in a bit of denial really, I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time but it’s more looking back on it now and I guess over a certain time I just came to realise I was in a bit of a slump.

“There are plenty of other races that I want to win, which I have now got that itch back for again, but initially it was a little bit difficult to get through that slump.

“It was probably from around the Christmas period through to about February, it was a bit of a lull, but I’m now really enjoying my riding again which is good.”

Twilight Payment and Jye McNeil win the 2020 Melbourne Cup. Pic: Racing Photos via Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

McNeil, 26, has only had a handful of previous rides in Queensland but will jet to the Sunshine State on Saturday morning to partner Homesman for leviathan owner Lloyd Williams in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes on the Gold Coast.

McNeil snared his third career Group 1 when Homesman won the Australian Cup at Flemington in March, continuing his fruitful working relationship with Williams after Twilight Payment had won last year’s Cup.

It was a highly emotional win as Homesman was part-owned by Michael Gudinski, a giant of the Australian music industry, who had passed away in the previous week.

Homesman is first-up in the Hollindale, on a probable path towards the Group 1 Doomben Cup a fortnight later, and McNeil will have his now customary phone chat with Williams before his riding mission on Saturday.

“I always speak to him (Williams) prior to riding for him and he is very good to talk to and he gives me his time if I have questions,” McNeil said.

“We have built a nice working relationship I think.

“I get a lot of enjoyment out of riding for Lloyd and he has given me opportunities.

“Of course I will never forget how he gave me my biggest race win.

“I like to connect with him and ride for him and we do that again on Saturday.”

Owner Lloyd Williams. Pic: Racing Photos via Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

McNeil may be back in Queensland this winter for further opportunities, potentially on Homesman in the Doomben Cup, although he is taking it one week at a time and hasn’t locked in any Queensland rides past this Saturday.

Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained Homesman, a two-time Group 1 winner, was given no favours in the Hollindale when drawing barrier 16 on Wednesday.

However many other leading fancies also drew wide, including Melody Belle (17), Zaaki (14) and Fifty Stars (12).

McNeil has other rides on Saturday including Amish Boy (Gold Coast Guineas), Yatton (Gold Coast Bracelet) and One For Betty (Silk Stocking).

He will also ride Wisdom Of Water if the sprinter races in the Listed Goldmarket, but Mark Zahra will ride if the galloper starts in the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas.

Originally published asYoung Melbourne Cup champion reveals how he lost his mojo

Source: Read Full Article