Auckland businessman Gerard Peterson will tomorrow have his 22nd Melbourne Cup runner and continue a run of having at least one starter in the race for the past 14 years.
Peterson, who was a part-owner of 2000 Cup winner Brew and 2008 runner-up Bauer, is a part-owner of the Chris Waller-trained Kelinni, who gained the final spot for tomorrow's A$6.2 million Flemington feature by winning Saturday's Gr III A$250,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at the same track.
Peterson had all but written off his chances of a runner in this year's Cup but he was quick to note that Brew had qualified for the Melbourne Cup the same way.
"Brew won this race and then came out and won the Cup three days later," Peterson said.
"This is the fourth time I've got a runner into the Cup this way. Maythehorsebewithu won it the next year and then ran fifth in the Cup and then Catchmeifyoucan ran second [in 2004] when the first two got into the Cup and he ran eighth three days later.
"It was my last chance today but Chris is a very good trainer and a hell of a nice bloke and he's always had a good opinion of this horse. He's got good staying blood and the further he goes the better. We bought him in England and for not a lot of money either.
"He's got in through the back door and with only 51 kilos to carry. It's exciting. It's good to be in it again."
Peterson, who established and sold the Number 1 Shoe Warehouse, said half the fun of having a Cup runner was the anticipation.
"It's a great thrill to have a Cup runner but it's really all about the expectations and anticipation - it's all about the excitement of the next three days."
Nash Rawiller rode Kelinni on Saturday but Glen Boss takes over for tomorrow's Melbourne Cup, in which the imported stayer has drawn barrier 10.
Waller, who began his career in Foxton under Paddy Busuttin, was delighted to secure a Cup start for Kelinni and said the reason for optimism in his staying pedigree.
"This is what owners dream about. They don't expect to win in Melbourne Cups and they don't expect to run in Melbourne Cups but if you can win Saturday races and Listed races and races like this I think it's everyowner's dream. Whatever happens on Tuesday is a bonus."
Meanwhile, Kelinni's win robbed Cambridge Stud boss Sir Patrick Hogan of a second runner in the Cup.
Sir Patrick and his wife Justin, Lady Hogan are part-owners of Lexus Stakes runner-up Dare To Dream, who ran a luckless second despite the best efforts of Cambridge jockey James McDonald.
"So close," Sir Patrick lamented afterwards.
"I thought we were in the Cup. But at least he proved one thing - he stays beautifully. He'll keep."
The Bart Cummings-trained Dare To Dream was touted as being 12 months away from his best so next year's Melbourne Cup looks a logical target as Sir Patrick chases his first Cup win as an owner.
"It's funny, a bloke came up to me before and said 'how are you going to feel after having all those Sir Tristrams and
Zabeels and then winning a Melbourne Cup with a northern hemisphere stayer? You've had those top staying stallions at your place but you've had to go the northern hemisphere to find a winner'.
''It would be terribly embarrassing, but they rang me with the offer of a share and I did turn it down but said they needed my money to make the deal go ahead."
Sir Patrick will still be cheering for his own Melbourne Cup runner tomorrow when the Cummings-trained Precedence, which he co-bred with the Dowager Duchess of Bedford races from barrier 20.
Sir Patrick chose the barrier draw, having come up with barrier two for last year's Cup in which Precedence finished 11th.
''At least I can say I've got an average of 11,'' Sir Patrick quipped.
- © Fairfax NZ News