PRIZE­MONEY TEMPTS SCOT TO BIG RACE

The Sportsman Midweek - - News - ME­GAN NEIL

IAIN Jar­dine (pic­tured) didn’t know much about the Mel­bourne Cup be­fore be­com­ing first Scot­tish trainer to have a run­ner in the $6 mil­lion race.

He saw the Phar Lap movie a few years ago and knew Ir­ish star Vin­tage Crop was the first in­ter­na­tion­ally-trained horse to win the race back in 1993.

“I’ve known about it for a few years but didn’t know a lot about it,” Jar­dine ad­mit­ted.

It was the Ir­ish- owned Heart­break City’s sec­ond to Al­mandin in last year’s Cup that con­vinced Jar­dine to fol­low the same path when his horse Na­keeta won Europe’s rich­est hand­i­cap Ebor.

“We were re­ally tempted by the prize money and thought race would be run to suit him, so here we are.

“It’s ab­so­lutely bril­liant to be part of it and fin­gers crossed we can take the Cup home to Scot­land.

“It won’t be easy but we’re here with ev­ery chance.”

In the Scot­tish town where Iain Jar­dine grew up, you ei­ther played rugby or rode horses.

So Jar­dine cut his teeth in pony rac­ing be­fore be­com­ing a jump jockey and then turn­ing his hand to train­ing.

Now he has the hopes of Scot­land rest­ing on him and Na­keeta, one of a record- equalling 11 in­ter­na­tion­ally trained run­ners in Tues­day’s race.

“There’s a lot of peo­ple root­ing for us back home,” he said.

The Cup field is down to 23 af­ter the Chris Waller-trained vet­eran Who Shot The­bar­man’s with­drawal due to an el­e­vated tem­per­a­ture.

Re­tired Mel­bourne busi­ness­man Lloyd Wil­liams has six horses in this year’s race on Tues­day in­clud­ing last

win­ner Al­mandin. Al­mandin is favourite to make it back-to- back wins and add to Wil­liams’ record tally of five Mel­bourne Cups.

Su­per­star jockey Frankie Dettori des­per­ately hopes Al­mandin can fi­nally add the Mel­bourne Cup to his CV, af­ter 15 at­tempts over 24 years.

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