The toss of a coin has cost Nick Hall the ride on the Lloyd Williams-owned import At First Sight who will be ridden by Steven King in Tuesday’s $6 million Melbourne Cup.
“It was an amazing thing to do. Stable employee Malcolm McLaren went and spoke to Steven King and Nick Hall and they decided to toss a coin over who was going to ride At First Sight and Steve won the toss,” part-owner Nick Williams said.
“So that’s exactly how it happened. It’s our new way of picking jockeys.
“I thought it was a very sporting gesture by Nick Hall given that he’s essentially our number one jockey.
“But Steven King’s done so much work and ridden that horse a lot and I think it was Nick’s suggestion.
“They both wanted to ride it but only one person can ride it. It shows what good blokes they are.”
King, who won the 1991 Melbourne Cup aboard outstanding mare Let’s Elope for master trainer Bart Cummings, rode the Williams-owned Tanby to win last Wednesday’s Bendigo Cup from At First Sight who was ridden by Hall.
The Williams’ team had six horses heading for the Cup last week but Midas Touch was withdrawn after failing in Saturday’s Mackinnon Stakes and Green Moon, who had to win the Lexus Stakes to gain a start, ran poorly.
Tanby didn’t make the field and Linton will run over 1800m at Flemington on Tuesday.
English Derby runner-up At First Sight and Mourayan, to be ridden by Hugh Bowman, are the Williams’ runners and they drew gates 10 and 14 respectively in the 24-horse field.
Mourayan turned in a slashing Cup trial when second to Glass Harmonium in the Mackinnon Stakes but stewards reported later that he pulled up mildly lame.
However, he was passed as fit to accept for the Melbourne Cup.
At First Sight is at $15 for the Cup with TAB Sportsbet while Mourayan is at $17.
Reigning Cup winner Americain, who drew barrier 15, is the $4.20 favourite.