Homesman being led back to scale by Matt Gudinski (Image: Racing Photos)
Jye McNeil rode another famous Flemington winner in Lloyd Williams' navy and white colours as Homesman overcame a wide run to claim the $1.5 million TAB Australian Cup (2000m) on Saturday.
Months after McNeil won his first Lexus Melbourne Cup with a daring front-running ride aboard the Joseph O'Brien-trained Twilight Payment, Homesman required courage to sit wide throughout as his rider held his nerve to display perfect timing aboard the Northern Hemisphere seven-year-old gelding.
The Flemington mounting yard was full of emotion as Matt Gudinski, son of late part-owner Michael, led Homesman back to scale. Michael Gudinski part-owned three Lexus Melbourne Cup winners with the Williams family and died on Tuesday.
"It was a great tough performance by the horse, well prepared, great tactics by mainly Lloyd to come up with this, there was a plan of attack today and it all came off," McNeil said.
"On the line I thought he was giving me everything he had. I felt he was starting to peak on his run and starting to lay in a touch, but he put it all on the track today and I'm super happy to get the win."
Trained by Anthony and Sam Freedman, Homesman ($26) wore down Best Of Days ($26) to score by a nose, with Chapada ($41) finishing a length away in third.
Paradee ($8) and Angel Of Truth ($17) ran fourth and fifth respectively as on-pace runners dominated, with 2.4 lengths covering the first 11 across in the line in the 17-horse field.
Fifty Stars ($3.50 favourite) settled four back on the fence and was denied clear running for much of the straight, finishing 10th.
"He's now a two-time Group 1 winner, he couldn't quite get a slot in The All-Star Mile, but this is maybe a little bit better," said Anthony Freedman.
"We knew he'd be a touch stronger than the second horse (Best Of Days) for the last little bit. He's proven at this distance. On the line I thought the other horse got the bob in. A pleasant surprise."
Homesman has raced 24 times for seven wins and eight placings, with prizemoney now in excess of $3 million. His other G1 success came in the 2018 Underwood Stakes (1800m) when trained by Liam Howley.