No complaints as Dee rolls with the punches

By Dennis Ryan

2 Nov 2022

No complaints as Dee rolls with the punchesWins in the Caulfield Cup and Victoria Derby have added to Mick Dee’s standing in Australian jocke

As one of the more laid-back members of his profession, Melbourne-based jockey Mick Dee isn’t someone to let the disappointment of missing out on Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup dampen his spirits after claiming two of the prized races of the Victorian spring carnival.
Kiwi-born Dee spent the first three years of his apprenticeship in New Zealand, riding more than 100 winners before linking up in late 2014 with leading Victorian trainer Mick Price. Now aged 26, he is well established in Australia, able to ride at a light weight and with eight Group One wins amongst a tally of more than 600 to his credit.
The seventh of those majors came three weeks ago in the Caulfield Cup on Durston, and last Saturday he added the Victoria Derby on Manzoice. The obvious connection is that both horses are trained by fellow expat Chris Waller, while another is that neither was rated highly in pre-race calculations.
Durston was in fact the first horse to win the Caulfield Cup after gaining a start from the emergency list thanks to a race morning withdrawal. The merit of his late charge to grab the honours by a head from topweight Gold Trip gained further kudos when the latter won Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.
Manzoice also had little to recommend him heading into the Victoria Derby, with one minor win and two placings, a rating of 67 and an eighth of 12 placing in the previous week’s Gr. 1 Spring Champion Stakes in Sydney.
Nor would the irony be lost on Dee that he should ride Manzoice to a narrow win over Spring Champion Stakes winner Sharp ’N’ Smart, the mount no less of the Kiwi expat who has dominated Australian jockey ranks, James McDonald, whose primary source of major wins has been the Waller stable.
“If you said to me before this spring that I’d have two major Group Ones coming up, I’d probably laugh,” Dee said after his Derby win. “It is pretty surreal and hopefully it can continue.
“This bloke probably had to do it a bit tougher than Durston. He didn’t get that position where he could avoid getting bumped throughout. He’s done a great job.