Corey Brown: Champion Australian Jockey - Corey Brown

Corey Brown is one of those Thoroughbred jockeys who do not make a lot of flash beyond winning, winning big races and winning consistently over the long term.

It was at some point, most likely in the distant past, where people learned that a horse with a talented and light rider was a better combination for speed than a talented and heavy rider.

Champion Australian jockey Corey Brown had riding in his blood and DNA thanks to a father and grandfather who were Corey Brown’s jockey predecessors.

Corey Brown was born 15 June 1976 up the coast of New South Wales in Taree, some 300 kilometres to the north of Sydney.

Offered the choice of working in his dad’s garage changing tyres or riding horses for a living, Corey chose racing and started his apprenticeship at the age of 15 with trainer Eric Anderson at Kempsey Race Club, situated north of Port Macquarie where the Macleay River takes a sharp right turn on its way to the sea.

It proved to be the better decision, although there were many instances where the bed of roses that is the life of a professional jockey took a turn for the thorny and Corey Brown might have entertained thoughts of the safety and stability of auto mechanic’s work.

Corey Brown Career Statistics

Corey Brown is inactive as the result of a serious fall in the Group 1 Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm in June of 2019, but he declares he will be back, or at least, that he is not ready to retire.

Thus, the Corey Brown stat line is not complete, but here are a few worth knowing.

  • Over 2,000 wins
  • 49 Group 1 wins
  • Career win percentage of 14% Career place percentage of 39 percent
  • Over $127 million in prizemoney since 2000
  • Two-time Melbourne Cup winner (2009-Shocking), (2017-Rekindling)

Corey Brown Significant Wins

  • Two time Melbourne Cup winner (see above)
  • Two-time Black Caviar Lightning Stakes winner (2008 - Apache Cat), (2017 – Terravista)
  • Two-time Sydney Cup winner (2001 – Mr. Prudent), (2017 – Polarisation)
  • Doomben Cup, Coolmore Classic, AJC Derby, Turnbull Stakes, Canterbury Guineas, Blue Diamond Stakes, Epson Handicap, Spring Champion Stakes, Flight Stakes, The Metropolitan, Doomben 10,000, T J Smith Stakes, Crown Oaks

Corey Brown Significant Horses

  • Shocking
  • Apache Cat
  • Eremein
  • Rekindling

Corey Brown Receives Instant Indoctrination

We won’t quote the adage about falling off the horse and what action should immediately follow, but Corey Brown could very well be the ideal embodiment of that adage.

Of course, trainer Eric Anderson did not pluck Corey Brown off the street, adorn him in racing silk and send him out on the track, but Corey Brown had a memorable first day of racing by any measure. It came in 1991.

His very first mount in the meeting fractured its leg in the final straight, sending Brown to the turf with a spectacular crash. Several sources list a horse named Starry Dale as Brown’s first ride, but that is not as significant as the reality that Corey Brown’s first ride nearly turned out to be his last.

Corey Brown had an instant appreciation for the perils of his sport, but although the accident shook him and left him dazed, he managed to take another ride the very same day.

He was fortunate, obviously, but his fortitude and in getting back on was to prove his most valuable trait, as history would later demonstrate.

Corey Brown needed a lot of persistence to go with his courage and willingness to accept the risk of racing Thoroughbreds.

He did not have a major win until 1994, when he ran off three consecutive wins riding Moment’s Pleasure to juvenile win at Warwick Farm, followed by a Group 3 win in a provincial TAB meeting. The race was the Coca Cola Classic, a 1200-metre sprint, where Brown bested marquee riders Glen Boss, Shane Dye and Jim Cassidy.

Brown and Moment’s Pleasure backed with a Group 2 victory in the 1200-metre Reisling Slipper Trial at Rosehill.

Moment’s Pleasure, thanks to the wins with Brown steering, qualified for the 1994 Golden Slipper Stakes, but against the top two-year-olds, seventh place was the result.

Corey Brown and Shocking

Shocking was a stayer by Ireland’s Street Cry from Great Britain’s Maria Di Castiglia. Corey Brown got on him at the perfect time. He rode Shocking for the first time at Caulfield in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400 m), Shocking’s 12th race. Another second came in the next try, the Group 3 Coongy Stakes (2000 m), also at Caulfield.

The next time delivered a win for Brown and Shocking in the Group 3 Lexus (2500 m), setting the stage for the 2009 Melbourne Cup.

Shocking and Brown came out of the 21st barrier, jumping as a $10 favourite and winning by ¾ of a length from Crime Scene and Kerrin McEvoy.

The winning time was 3:23.87, hardly blazing, but few cared how long it took so much as they cared about which finished first.

Brown gave up his seat on Shocking after the 2009 Melbourne Cup. Shocking finished 18th in the 2010 Melbourne Cup. Brown would take the last three rides of Shocking’s racing days and the pair concluded by winning the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000 m) by two lengths from Linton. Brown and Shocking were next to last when they hit the 400-metre, but a hard charge delivered an easy win.

Corey Brown and Apache Cat

While Shocking and Rekindling delivered Melbourne Cup wins, it was arguably Apache Cat that did the most to boost Corey Brown.

Apache Cat was by Lion Cavern (USA) from Tennessee Blaze. He was at various times ridden by Nick Ryan, Glen Boss, Craig Williams and Damien Oliver, with modest results and no Group 1 wins.

Corey Brown got on Apache Cat in the latter stages of the horse’s career and it turned out to be a classic win-win-win for everyone.

They first won the 2008 Group 1 Lightning Stakes, followed by the Group 1 Australian Stakes, the T J Smith, BTC Cup and the Doomben 10,000.

Corey Brown turned Apache Cat over to Damien Oliver after a few more rides and Apache Cat went on to win the Doomben 10,000 the following year, which was to be its last Group 1 win.

Corey Brown and Eremein

Eremein was by Timber Country (USA) from Marrego. He was versatile and won from 1100 to 2400 metres in 2004. He was ridden by Hugh Bowman and Chris Munce and showed ability.

Brown rode Eremein for two wins, one at Warwick Farm and the other at Rosehill. Eremein went to other riders and Brown did not get him back until the 2005 Group 1 Canterbury Guineas, which produced a second.

Next came consecutive Group 1 wins in the Rosehill Guineas and the AJC Derby. Brown showed that he could pilot Eremein on good or heavy tracks in those two races. Brown’s association with the horse ended following a third place in the 2005 Group 3 Packer Plate.

Corey Brown and Rekindling

While Shocking delivered Corey Brown to the post in the 2009 Melbourne Cup for the first time, it was obviously a moment Brown would never forget. It could be said that Apache Cat, even Eremein delivered more big wins, but those in racing circles would say that one Melbourne Cup win is equivalent to two Caulfield Cups and two Cox Plates.

Corey Brown won his second Melbourne Cup on Rekindling in 2017.

Rekindling, like Shocked, had an Irish sire, High Chaparral, from Sitara.

The horse was never raced a lot, which is often the case with staying horses where all the races are for sprinters and intermediates.

He won only four times racing in the British Isles. His results in Group 1 races were worse than mediocre, with a dead last first time out, 16th of 18 next, so coming into the 2017 Melbourne Cup, Rekindling was on the sixth line for the betting, jumping for $15.

Corey Brown and Rekindling were well drawn in the fourth barrier, but co-favourites Marmelo, with Hugh Bowman aboard, and 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin with Frankie Dettori were drawn okay as $7 chances.

Other well-known and productive horses in that 2017 edition of the Melbourne Cup included Libran, Humidor ($11) and Hartnell ($26). The 2017 Caulfield Cup winner, Boom Time ($31), was also in the field, chasing a Cups double, but without much support from the betting.

Brown kept Rekindling in the middle, ninth at the 800 and fourth at the 400.

Corey Brown and Rekindling ran the race in 3:21.19, which would have beaten Shocking by quite a margin, but again, time matters not to the first finisher.

Corey Brown and Rekindling needed every centimetre of Flemington turf and only took the lead in the last 50 metres or less. Brown had timed it perfectly and had just enough Rekindling left to take the race and cement his legacy as a jockey.

In other Melbourne Cup tires, Corey Brown had run second twice (2008 – Bauer, (2002 – Mr. Prudent) and third (2011 – Lucas Cranach) once.

Corey Brown International Racing

Top Australian hoops often try their hands racing overseas. Corey Brown was no exception. He went to Hong Kong, returning to Sydney for the 2001/02 season, where he won 106 races and won the Sydney Jockey Premiership.

He would go back to Hong Kong following 2005 until 2008, when he was teamed with Apache Cat to the advantage of everyone involved.

Corey Brown Catastrophe

Brown walked away from his debut race and crash shaken but undeterred. It was not to be his last flirtation with disaster.

It was not his fall, but the incident that almost removed Corey Brown from racing completely was at Rosehill Gardens in 1993, not long after Brown had begun to attract the notice of trainers willing to give him chances on better horses.

It was October of 1993. Corey Brown was in the pack on Sonar Boy when the horse directly in front of him, Tuig, ridden by Ken Russell, broke its leg and went down, taking Russell along.

Corey Brown had no way to stop or change direction and he and Sonar Bar ran over Russell, who died later that night from head injuries.

Brown, with the aid of counseling, was able to return to the saddle and eventually won the Apprentice Jockey Premiership for Sydney that season.

Corey Brown Controversy

Brown was working in Hong Kong in 2005 when the racing stewards there handed him a six-month suspension for what were described as drug-related offenses. He tested positive for cocaine and lost his Hong Kong racing license at the star of the 2005/06 season.

Brown always maintained his innocence, but the damage to his reputation was substantial and he had to work his way back through the ranks to re-establish the confidence of the trainers.

He credited a man known as “The Jockey Whisperer,” Harry Hill, a former sheep shearer turned personal motivator.

He told various media sources that Harry Hill had helped Brown to stay positive and focus, not easy to do following his heartbreaking loss on Bauer in the 2008 Melbourne Cup.

"It's just little things that Harry says that seem to hit the mark every time,'' Corey Brown said. “There are times when he will say something that seems to put everything into perspective for me.”

Corey Brown Recent Injury

Corey Brown was seriously injured in the 2019 Group 1 Queensland Derby. He was aboard Lord Arthur when careless riding that resulted in suspensions to Tommy Berry and Matt McGillivray.

Corey Brown and Lord Arthur went down in a heap. Lord Arthur’s injuries meant that the horse had to be destroyed.

Corey Brown’s injuries included fractured vertebrae.

Part of his recovery was to supply Channel 7 with expert race commentary during the Sydney and Melbourne carnivals.

When asked about retirement, he told reporters, “I'm definitely going to ride again, I have no plans to retire.”

Conclusion

Corey Brown has earned every race he has ever won through determination and the ability to cope successfully with the situations that have sent other jockeys to the old jockeys’ paddock.

It remains to be seen if he has another Melbourne Cup win in him and he would very likely tell anyone who cared to listen that a Caulfield Cup or Cox Plate win would be the quest.

He is certain to be inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame at some point, but until he hangs up his spurs and calls time, it is also certain that he will not stop until he determines his contributions as a Thoroughbred jockey are complete.