Lloyd Williams refuses to say how much it has cost him to become the most successful owner in Melbourne Cup history.
While Australians wagered more than $140 million on Tuesday’s Cup, Williams did not have a bet, channelling his money into buying horses like the winner Almandin from Europe.
Imported German horse Almandin gave the retired Melbourne businessman his fifth Cup when be fought off Irish horse Heartbreak City.
Williams and his friend, the late Kerry Packer, used to strike fear into the bookies ring, notably pulling off a coup when New Zealand mare Jezabeel won in 1998.
But he now spends most of his time on his farm at Mt Macedon overseeing a team of horses and studying northern hemisphere form to source his next winner of a race he helped make an international event.
“In 1990 I was on the committee of the VRC (Victoria Racing Club) and it was struggling,” Wlllliams said.
“Les Benton was there at the time and he worked very hard to internationalise the race.
“And then in 1993 Dermot Weld came and won it and that’s how it started.”
Only one of the horses in Tuesday’s Cup, Jameka, was bred in Australia with three from New Zealand and 20 from the northern hemisphere.
Williams said that trend would continue as he and others bought tried and true stayers from Europe rather than breeding them.
“People want up and running horses,” he said.
“I’ve bought a lot. I’ve bought some very bad horses and success didn’t come quickly.
“I won’t say how much I’ve spent.”
Whatever he paid for Almandin seems worth it with the horse back home at Macedon Lodge on Tuesday night having fulfilled his part of the deal.