LOCAL connections of one of the favourites for the $6.5 million Melbourne Cup, former local football star Mick Johnston and stock agent Terry Ginnane, are living a racehorse owners’ dream today.
Just having a runner in the cup, especially with the huge interest from overseas these days, is a great achievement.
They’re well aware of that.
But once you’re in, you can dare to dream about winning it as well, particularly after the way their horse Humidor stormed home in the Cox Plate little more than a week ago.
“Look who knows. We’re just hoping for the best,” said Terry at Flemington last Saturday.
He’s well versed in the ups and downs of racing.
Both he and Mick Johnston were in the mounting yard to cheer on another horse they have an interest in, the Japanese bred Tosen Stardom, who recently franked his breeding potential by winning the Group One Toorak Handicap over 1600 metres at Caulfield.
Slightly fizzed up before the race, while trainer Darren Weir and stable hands fitted a tongue tie and adjusted his gear, he ran a respectable 8th in the Kennedy Mile, without much luck in the running, five lengths off the winner, Shillelagh, but still managing to pay for his hay with a $20,000 share of the prize.
After the race, thoughts turned quickly to the Melbourne Cup, to Humidor and the barrier draw.
“Noah’s got the big job today,” said Terry of Mick’s son Noah, who was charged with the responsibility of drawing an inside alley in the big race.
“He’s got to draw us a good barrier. Something between five and 14 would be nice.”
Noah did the job at the official barrier draw on Saturday night, in front of all the bluebloods of racing including VRC Chair Amanda Elliott, trainer David Hayes and all the overseas trainers and connections, to pick out barrier 13.
It will give jockey Blake Shinn every opportunity to find a place midfield and stay out of trouble while he waits for the chance to unleash Humidor’s patented stirring finish.
How will he go?
“We’ll just have to wait and see,” said Terry, mindful of the enormity of the challenge against 22 of the world’s best stayers over the marathon distance of 3200 metres.
Riding their luck into the cup