With the big day drawing ever closer, we got the chance to have a quick chat with Aleisha Legg who has the enviable position of strapping a Melbourne Cup hopeful in The Chosen One.
What’s your relationship with The Chosen One?
My relationship with The Chosen One is very special to me. I used to ride The Glitzy One (Ed note: The Chosen One's dam) towards the end of her racing career for the late Steve Anderton. She was one of my favourites at Steve’s stable and she sadly passed away a few seasons ago.
"The Chosen One is like my best friend, I know him inside out and we’ve travelled everywhere together over the last few years. He’s the closest thing I’ll ever get to The Glitzy One and Steve again."
What name/s do you call him by?
I call The Chosen One, Glitzy. We called him Glitzy when he came in as a yearling and it’s stuck ever since.
Any personality quirks you can share?
He likes his own space and doesn’t like to be fussed over unless you bring carrots!
Can you fill us in on what your day-to-day routine is as his strapper?
In New Zealand it’s a bit different to when we are in Australia.
In New Zealand it’s a massive team effort. I ride him, then he’ll get washed down and taken back to his box. Later in the morning he’ll get his ice boots on and a feed. Once his ice boots are finished he’ll get covered, make sure everything is normal with him and left for the morning. In Australia I’m his everything. Feed, muck out his box, ride him, wash him, walk him, ice him and keep him happy.
What do you think makes him special?
I think the thing that makes him special is his consistency and how incredibly tough he is. He is always there or thereabouts mixing it with the world's best stayers.
We understand he’s got his own Instagram hashtag? Any favourite snaps you can share with us?
I always just hashtag #Glitzy cause that’s what I know him by – but maybe it’s caught on!
What’s been your proudest moment of his career so far?
I struggle to pick between the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup last year as my proudest moment.
To watch him turn his form around and nearly win the Caulfield Cup was absolutely amazing, but to see him be the first Australasian horse home in the Melbourne Cup and see how incredibly hard he tried was also amazing.
As you said, he was the first Australasian horse home in last year’s Melbourne Cup – do you think he can improve on that this year?
I don’t see why he can’t improve on last year’s placing. He’s proven how tough he is and he can stay the trip, now all we need is a good barrier!
What motivates you to get up at dawn each day to care for the horses you’re currently tasked with looking after?
I just love the horses! I enjoy looking after them and seeing them do so well, both here and Australia.
What’s one raceday you’d love to attend (in New Zealand or overseas)? And, given you’ve probably had a good nudge at most of the major carnivals in New Zealand, which one is your favourite?
I’ve already attended it, but nothing beats the Melbourne Cup - it’s unbelievable! My favourite New Zealand carnival is definitely the entire SkyCity Christmas Carnival at Ellerslie.
How did you get involved in the racing industry? Do you feel you’re ‘hooked’ for life?
My mum used to work at White Robe Lodge when I was a teenager and I used to go in and help her in the weekends and school holidays. I originally started at the stud end of the farm when I was 14 and then when I was 15, changed back to the racing end of the farm and started riding trackwork.
I worked for Brian and Shane Anderton for a few years before moving to Cambridge to work for Murray and Andrew (Baker/Forsman Racing) who I’ve been with for eight and half years now. I definitely feel I'm hooked for life - racing is a part of me now.
What would you say to other girls looking to get involved in the racing industry
Give it a go! Work hard and you never know where you’ll end up.
What’s the biggest barrier to participation?
The biggest barrier is the hours. Definitely don’t enjoy when my alarm goes off at 2:50am, but seeing your favourite horses doing well and being happy is worth it.
If you could have any role in the industry what would it be?
I personally think the job as a travelling foreperson is the best. Travelling overseas with the team is definitely worth it.
If you could share anything about The Chosen One that you’d love for people to know – what would it be?
Apart from him loving carrots and actually being a big teddy bear, he’s got the best group of owners. Each and every one of them is amazing and love him so much.
Glitzy lost one of his owners earlier this year, but he rides with him in every race.
I can’t thank them enough for being our support crew in the big races when the nerves are up.
And finally, what’s the most significant piece of advice you’ve received from someone in the industry?
When I left White Robe Lodge to work for Baker/Forsman Racing, Brian Anderton told me to "Work hard and stay humble - you never know where it will take you".
We thank Aleisha for taking the time to chat during what we're sure is an incredibly busy few weeks. Images supplied.
While we're no longer racing on 2 November here at Ellerslie, we've still got a lot of great Melbourne Cup content to come as Australasia leads up to the "great race".
Keep checking back here for more!