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Corey Brown: Champion Australian Jockey

Corey Brown: Champion Australian Jockey

Born 15 June, 1976, Brown’s father Jack and Grandfather Trevor both rode to some degree of success in their day in NSW, so Corey had the pedigree of a jockey in his blood.

He was raised predominantly by his mother after his parents divorced, but he and his father remained close. Offered the career choice of being taught to ride by his father, or follow in dad’s footsteps as an auto mechanic, Corey chose the former.

Young Brown began his jockey apprenticeship in 1991 at the age of 15.

He immediately experienced the drama that often accompanies the combination of man and Thoroughbred. In his very first race, his mount fractured a leg in the stretch, leading to severe crash. Brown was shaken, but uninjured, and in ironic support of the old adage, “If you fall off a horse, get right back up,” he rode again the same day. He recalls the decision as being a good one.

A horse of predominantly US origin, Another Square, was responsible for Brown’s first victory in 1991. Soon thereafter, Brown’s childhood idol, former champion jockey Malcolm Johnson, urged him to take his talent to Sydney to advance his career. Johnson used his connections to get Brown a start with Neil Campton at Rosehill and Brown’s abilities soon began to manifest. He vied for the title of leading apprentice in 1993.

It was 9th October, 1993, that would supply the event that has probably done more to define Brown’s mental strength and tenacity, an event that, in an ideal world, would not occur, but no argument need be made regarding the fact that the world is seldom Shangri La.

In a race at Rosehill Gardens, veteran jockey Ken Russell’s horse Tuig broke a leg and collapsed immediately in front of Brown aboard Sonar Boy. With no time to react, and no place to go in any event, Brown rode over Russell, who subsequently died of head injuries.

Even though race stewards found no fault with Brown, the incident shook him so badly that he naturally contemplated no longer racing.

Perhaps it was the unconditional support he received from Neil Campton, or maybe it was Brown’s own character, but he did get back on, winning the Sydney Apprentice Premiership for the season.

That is not to say that all was immediately peaches and cream. Brown’s first Group 1 win waited until 1999, when he brought Camino Rose to the winning post in the Coolmore.

After further testing his skill in Hong Kong, Brown returned to Sydney for the 2001-02 season, posted 106 wins, won the Sydney Jockeys Premiership, and brought home Prudent in the Sydney Cup and Kusi in the Blue Diamond Stakes.

Time Line of Major Wins/Horses Ridden

2001 – Sydney Cup – Prudent 2002 – Blue Diamond Stakes – Kusi 2003 – Epsom Handicap – Clangalang, Spring Champion Stakes – Niello, Flight Stakes – Unearthly. This was a hat-trick on Epsom Cup Day. Newmarket Handicap – Exceed and Excel. 2004 – Queensland Derby – Toulouse Lautrec, Metropolitan County – Tyrone 2005 – AJC Australian Derby – Enemein, AJC Australian Oaks – Dizelle, Rosehill Guineas – Enemein. Brown accomplished the uncommon Derby/Oaks double.

Then came another sojourn in Hong Kong that did not pan out as well as the first.

2008 – George Main Stakes – Mentality, Spring Champion Stakes – Sousa. Next came five more Group 1 wins all courtesy of Apace Cat: The Lightning Stakes, Australia Stakes, Doomben 10,000, T.J. Smith Stakes and BTC Cup.

2009 – Melbourne Cup – Shocking, Victoria Derby – Monaco Consul, Victoria Oaks – Arapaho Miss, Metro County – Speed Gifted, Chipping Norton Stakes – Tuesday Joy, Emirate Stakes – All American.

Brown’s Cup came on his 9th attempt, with two seconds and a third to his previous credit. Whatever Brown’s future holds, his place in Australian racing history is secure, and he will remembered for his ability to overcome tragedy and adversity that has derailed many a lesser man.