Jye McNeil rides Chapada and his young son Oakley will cheer

Up-and-coming star jockey Jye McNeil is gaining many new fans in racing, but there is none bigger than his young son, who was born on the horses’ birthday.

In Australia, every horse’s birthday is on August 1st and it was also the day that McNeil’s partner – jockey colleague Jess Payne – brought little Oakley into the world.

Payne went into the early stages of work the day before, on a Friday, the last day of the racing Premiership season, when McNeil was dying to drive into Geelong to seal the Victorian jockeys’ premiership.

The timing was spot on and McNeil could ride and win the Premier League. Baby Oakley arrived the next day.

This week, 25-year-old McNeil has a lot of pressure on his young shoulders as he rides the Caulfield Cup contender Chapada on Saturday.

Chapada is given a $ 21 chance after making his way into the Caulfield Cup and winning the golden ticket to the famous $ 5 million race by winning the Herbert Power Stakes last Saturday.

Daniel Stackhouse’s Chapada wins Herbert Power Stakes. Photo: Race photos via Getty Images

But the birth of his young son – in the middle of a COVID pandemic that hasn’t seen grandparents visiting Oakley – will still be a magical moment, even if McNeil happens to win the trophy.

McNeil juggles being a new dad with upcoming goals for Caulfield and Melbourne Cup – and makes it work with the help of his beloved partner.

“It’s so funny how it all worked out when my son was born on the horses birthday. I’m sure I’ll never forget his birthday, ”says McNeil.

“I fought for the riding premiere with Stacky (Daniel Stackhouse) and Jess went into the early stages of work on Friday morning, the last day of the racing season.

“I had five drives in Geelong and was afraid I wouldn’t make it to the races, but he held back long enough and arrived the next day.

“His birthday is easy to remember – it could be an omen.

“He actually does notice the races a bit now, which is very interesting. He seems to like to sit up and watch her. “

Jye McNeil and partner Jess Payne with Baby Oakley and their dogs Ollie and Bester. Image: racing photos

Due to COVID, McNeil was kicked out of the hospital shortly after his son was born, and it was difficult to only see the newborn between 5 and 7 p.m. in his boy’s first few days of life.

McNeil loves being a dad – although he admits that his partner generally does the lion’s share of the work.

He’s pulled his riding commitments back to some extent in order to be the best dad he can – although he can’t wait to race in the Caulfield Cup for the first time on Saturday.

McNeil’s first Melbourne Cup ride also beckons, which was booked for the ride on the Lloyd Williams-operated Stayer Twilight Payment for the first Tuesday in November. The gallop coached 2017 Melbourne Cup winning coach Joseph O’Brien.

“I can’t wait for these big rides, but as a dad I don’t drive as much as I did before and now I generally have two or three days off a week which is a much better lifestyle for me,” McNeil says.

“It was a bit difficult for Jess and me that our families (because of COVID) cannot come to visit and they have not yet met our son.

“As for my riding, winning my first Group 1 last year (at Kings Will Dream in the Turnbull Stakes) was the start of a good season for me. It has helped me develop all possibilities and put myself in a good position to take advantage of these opportunities.

“I’m happy to accept that my story was a little lost that day because the amazing story of Kings Will Dream who came back from injury to win was a better picture for racing than me won a group 1. ”

Jye McNeil returns to Kings Will Dream after winning the Turnbull Stakes. AAP Image / Vince Caligiuri

While McNeil is generally as cool as a cucumber when he rides, in recent weeks he has gotten hot and disrupted the track.

He hired the help of fitness guru Brett Peatling to lose a few kilograms in order to ride in the Caulfield Cup with the lightweight of 50.5 kg.

McNeil was supposed to ride on Orderofthegarter, but when that horse couldn’t beat a runner home last Saturday, Chapada’s connections came quickly and called to get McNeil in shape for the Caulfield Cup.

“Probably about 90 percent of my (weight loss) prep has been boxing, and then I work on my core strength and a few other things to top it off,” says McNeil.

“I didn’t know how hard boxing was until I decided to try it out, it’s crazy.

“The more I did it, the more I enjoy it and I’ve gotten better at it.”

Chapada drew Barrier 16 for his use in the Caulfield Cup.


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