Few people are lucky enough to have an interest in a Melbourne Cup runner and Tony Rider is pinching himself to have a connection to two.
The principal of New Zealand’s Cambridge thoroughbred nursery Milan Park bred Oceanex and is a part-owner of The Chosen One.
“It’s a dream come true to have a horse in the Melbourne Cup,” Rider told the NZ Racing Desk.
“We were fortunate to have one in last year (The Chosen One) but this year I own part of one and I bred one, so it’s amazing.
“You wish that both of them could come in first but obviously there can only be one.”
Rider sold Oceanex as a yearling to Mick Price, who trains the mare in partnership with Micheal Kent Junior.
The Andrew Ramsden Stakes winner overcame a fitness scare last week but has been cleared by Racing Victoria veterinarians to take her place.
“It was a bit of a scare,” Rider said.
“They have changed the shoes and she is 100 per cent to go. Her downfall will be the barrier (17), you just hope she has every opportunity to get up there.”
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The Chosen One has fared much better on Tuesday with gate five and Rider regards the Sydney Cup runner-up as his best chance.
“With him drawing barrier five there will be no excuses,” Rider said.
“Two weeks ago he ran in the Caulfield Cup and had the same opportunity and got third. The two horses (Verry Elleegant and Anthony Van Dyck) that beat him are very good.”
As a result of pandemic travel restrictions, Rider won’t be able to be on course at Flemington on Tuesday but he is planning to host a group of friends and family, including The Chosen One’s trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman.
“We have got about 100 people coming out to the farm for the day,” he said.
“We will have a lot of good friends here tomorrow. We will start at 12:30pm and go to 6pm and if either of them win it will be an all-nighter. We are looking for a good day.”
The Chosen One is a $26 chance with TAB fixed odds with Oceanex one of the outsiders at $71.