How the Caulfield Cup winner got her unusual name

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 15: Nick Hall riding Jameka celebrates on the line to win Race 8, BMW Caulfield Cup during Caulfield Cup Day at Caulfield Racecourse on October 15, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

Jameka: a Caulfield Cup winner with an unusual name

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

 By Mark Scully In Melbourne 12:04PM 16 OCT 2016 

Our man Down Under joins the celebrations in Warrnambool (try saying that after a few schooners…) and discovers the not-quite-politically-correct origin of the Caulfield Cup winner’s name

How do you celebrate winning one of the biggest races in the Australian calendar? If you are Jameka’s part-owner Colin McKenna, you head to your local racecourse and share the success with your friends.

A prominent figure in the small town of Warrnambool, some 150 miles west of Melbourne, McKenna and his wife enjoyed Sunday afternoon at the track and even brought the famous trophy along with them so locals (and one nosey British reporter) could pass it around and take pictures.

Understandably in high spirits, McKenna reflected that he and Jameka’s trainer, Ciaron Maher, must surely be the only duo to have added Caulfield Cup glory to a win in one of Australia’s most famous jumps contests, the Grand Annual at Warrnambool, which they claimed in May last year with Regina Coeli.

The obvious question then was which gave him the greatest satisfaction?

“That’s a tough question to ask me,” McKenna said. “When you win the Grand Annual in Warrnambool, it’s like winning the Melbourne Cup in this town.

“It’s the biggest race on the biggest day of the year and I’m an emotional sort of person. I always dreamed of winning the Grand Annual when I was growing up, not a Caulfield Cup. You always think that sort of race would be out of your reach.”

Naming a champion filly

Plenty has been written about Jameka in the wake of her brilliant Caulfield Cup success but one important question had gone unasked until Sunday: how did she get her name?

“Ciaron loves Venus and Serena Williams, particularly Serena,” McKenna explains. “He bought Jameka as a yearling along with another filly [Petits Filous] and when he brought them home, he named Jameka Serena and Petits Filous Venus.

“When it came to naming her officially, we couldn’t get Serena, which we wanted because Ciaron had said the filly had the best rear in the world. We Googled loads of other women with great figures but we couldn’t get any of the names.

“So we Googled Serena Williams again and her middle name is Jameka, so we called her that.”

Did we see the Melbourne Cup winner?

We are still a relatively long way from the Melbourne Cup but the question is whether we saw the winner of the feature race of the Spring Carnival at Caulfield on Saturday.

Jameka is clearly all the rage following her win but it was a horse a little further back that caught the eye of this observer, namely the German import Our Ivanhowe in sixth.

The Lee and Anthony Freedman-trained six-year-old found himself way back in the field and had no hope of getting involved at the busy end as he found himself behind a wall of horses upon straightening.

Switched out for room, the Group 1 winner made impressive late headway and it was telling that in the post-race interviews, Lee Freedman wanted to talk less about third-placed Exospheric and more about the Cup prospects of Our Ivanhowe.

“He should have been involved in the finish,” said Freedman. “He was shuffled way out the back and ran out well into sixth, it was a big run and a great Melbourne Cup trial.”

Consider your card marked.

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