AS sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, Rosehill-based jockey Corey Brown will make the annual pilgrimage south for the climax of Melbourne's horse racing spring carnival.
Since he moved to Sydney's west as a teenage apprentice, Brown has made a name for himself as one of Australia's premier jockeys.
His resume boasts several Group 1 race wins in Sydney including the Sydney Cup, the Epsom Handicap and the George Main Stakes.
The former Sydney Jockey's Premiership winner (2001/2002) has also enjoyed similar success in Melbourne.
In the 2009 Spring Carnival he claimed the Victoria Derby on board Monaco Consul, the Victoria Oaks with Arapaho Miss and the Melbourne Cup with Shocking.
"It's like you're in your own little world from the 200 metres onwards [when you win the Melbourne Cup]," he said.
"If I could bottle the feeling and give everyone a try of it, I couldn't put a price tag on it.
"Just to be in the race and down there on the day is a big achievement.
"It's basically the grand final, it's as high as you can go."
While races last only a matter of minutes, the build-up can takes months, sometimes years.
As far as owners are concerned, it's about getting the right horse at the right price.
For trainers it's about preparation, training and making sure the race is suitable.
And for jockeys it's more of a sales pitch.
"There are a lot of phone calls to secure the horses because you can have half a dozen jockeys or more chasing the one horse," he said.
"It can be as tactical off the race track as it can be on there."
He already has horses lined up but isn't getting carried away.
"You obviously expect a lot going into it but more often than not you come out with your tail between your legs," he said. "I've got a horse from France who is probably my best horse going into the Cup at this stage.
"But racing's a funny game and there is a lot of water to go under the bridge.
"You could be riding on the crest of a wave one minute and the next you're underneath it.
"I've got a really good horse here from Rosehill [trained by Gerald Ryan] called Snitzerland and she's only a three-year-old but she's going for the Coolmore [Stud Stakes] on Derby Day."
Two major races he still has to tick off his list are the Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate.
"Once you're in the racing game, the race everyone wants to win as a jockey, trainer and owner is the Cox Plate," he said. "It's a weight-for-age race and the test of the toughest.
"It hasn't eluded me, I just haven't had many opportunities in it.
"I've run a couple of seconds in the Caulfield Cup but never won one."