Mitchell Pateman has ridden in races with a higher profile and achieved bigger wins in his career, but Sunday’s success in the Great Southern will forever be etched in his memory.
In an emotional victory, the Albany-born hoop clinched a life-long ambition when he partnered The Big Show to win the Wellington & Reeves Albany Cup (2100m).
“Ever since I was a kid I have spent a lot of time in Albany with all of mum’s family,” Pateman said on Tabradio.
“It’s always been a race at the top of my list that I wanted to win and to do it yesterday was a great feeling.”
The Big Show, who defeated He’s A Parker and Prying Tom, returned to the winner’s list after going back-to-back at Ascot in December.
Staring favourite he rebounded strongly after lumping big weight and finishing third and fourth respectively at his previous two runs.
Pateman said The Big Show appreciated a drop in weight.
“I sort of thought his last two that the only thing that stopped him was the weight, the 59kg,” Pateman said.
“It seemed to be holding him up just a little bit and although not bad he wasn’t as good as the two starts before.
“I thought getting back to the 55.5kg was a big plus and his racing pattern was going to suit Albany.
“He settled well and really finished the race off well.”
Pateman’s win tasted even more sweeter after wasting hard during the week to ride at 55.5kg.
Trainer Darren McAuliffe gave him the encouragement and validation he needed
“I’ve been on a pretty good diet, but we got there,” Pateman said.
“When the fields came out I sort of thought about it a bit.
“I asked Darren what he thought and he said it would be worth it.”
Aside from The Big Show, Pateman said the performance of runner-up He’s A Parker was full of merit.
“I think the second horse is a horse who going places,” Pateman said.
“He took up a lot of ground and The Big Show is no slouch.
“There was a gap to Prying Tom who is no slouch either.”