Owners Chasing The Melbourne Cup Dream

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Peter Tighe

Champion mare Winx’s part-owner Peter Tighe is no different to anyone else with a share in a racehorse: he dreams of winning a Melbourne Cup.

From Saudi Arabian royalty and the elite of world racing circles to ordinary English blokes, an Aussie who paid $5500 for a horse in an online auction and a rowdy mob of Kiwis, the dream is the same.

“Everybody wants to win a Melbourne Cup around the world and we’re no different to anyone else,” Tighe said on Monday.

“We’d love to have one sitting on our mantle like millions of other people.”

As one of Winx’s three owners, Tighe already has a record four Cox Plates.

He hopes Finche, now one of the favourites to win Tuesday’s $8 million race, delivers a first Melbourne Cup for himself and Winx’s trainer Chris Waller.

So too do his fellow owners including Neil Werrett, part-owner of unbeaten Black Caviar, and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Khalid Abdullah, who races English star Enable and owned Finche’s superstar father Frankel.

“Just getting in the field is a great honour,” Tighe said.

“But to win it just takes it to a level that you can only dream about.”

Englishman Duncan Smith grew up watching black-and-white film replays of Phar Lap’s 1930 Melbourne Cup win, never imagining he would one day have his own runner in the great race.

The self-described ordinary bloke from Yorkshire has a small stake in Raymond Tusk, the first Cup runner for both British trainer Richard Hannon and syndicators Middleham Park Racing.

“It’s a bit awe-inspiring really,” Smith, a retired local government officer, said of owning a Cup runner like some of the biggest names in world racing.

“We’re mixing it with the big stage and we’re glad to be here.

“We feel like we’re justified to be here so it’s good to take them on and let’s see if we can beat them.”

Also living the dream are the 40 Kiwis who bought The Chosen One for $150,000 while the breeders, octogenarian twins Ray and Tony Dennis, kept half.

“We syndicated him within a couple of hours,” part-owner Tony Rider told AAP.

Rider knew the horse had Melbourne Cup potential immediately, given his pedigree.

“That was our dream, from the day we syndicated him,” he said.

The Chosen One’s jockey Tim Clark appreciated the loud cheering from the big Kiwi contingent during the traditional Melbourne Cup parade, which attracted an equally loud group of anti-horseracing protesters.

“Obviously there’s a big bunch of owners and they’re very parochial and loud which is great,” Clark said.

Another NZ-bred runner, Surprise Baby, cost his Queensland owner John Fiteni only $5500 on an online auction site.

Win, lose or draw on Tuesday, Tighe was happy to enjoy another Melbourne Cup experience.

So too were The Chosen One’s connections.

“We’ve already won, just being involved,” Rider’s son-in-law Jaime Cridge said.

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