FOR Australian Bloodstock (AB) co-founder Luke Murrell, the best part about having two runners in the Melbourne Cup (3200m) for the first time is the chance to share the adrenaline rush with even more owners.
Make no mistake, though, Murrell and business partner Jamie Lovett are addicted to Cup success, much like five-time winner Lloyd Williams, after their 2014 victory with Protectionist.
And the Hunter-based part-owners believe Red Cardinal or Big Duke, both $19 with TAB Fixed Odds, can give them a second win on Tuesday at Flemington.
“The aim is always to win this race,” Murrell said. “Lloyd's trying to do it as well and he's got six runners, but I wouldn't be swapping my horses for his.”
Red Cardinal and Big Duke will be AB’s fourth and fifth Cup runners in total, after Illustrious Blue (ninth in 2010), Lucas Cranach (third, 2011) and Protectionist.
AB were successful this year in gaining a slot and finishing third with Brave Smash in the new $10 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick but Murrell said their focus remained on the $6.2 million Cup.
“Jamie and I joke a bit, but we're serious – we want to win 10 of these and the only way to do it is to have runners and good horses and hopefully we're here for plenty of years to come,” he said.
“It's just such a different world and we're trying to share it with people. There's always group 1s and we're the most successful syndicators in terms of them, but the Melbourne Cup is just a completely different level.
“The Everest was amazing when we ran third and we desperately want to win that race but the Melbourne Cup's on its own pedestal. I guess it's an addiction.”
Murrell was pleased to have two runners this year so more owners could share in the Cup excitement.
“We've won the race and the more people we can share that thrill and experience with … you can't describe that feeling,” he said.
“The Monday night nerves and when they are milling behind the barrier and about to jump, it's an amazing adrenaline rush that you probably get when you're a little kid and playing sport. It's probably one of the only ways to recapture that.
“We introduce these people with grand plans and it's more that I want to see the horse do well for them, rather than for ourselves.”
Murrell declared Protectionist the winner prior to the 2014 Cup and he felt the same about his Japanese import Admire Deus before it broke down three weeks ago. The draw in 24 for Red Cardinal was another blow for AB but Big Duke has firmed in the market since gaining gate five.
“We've still got two good chances,” Murrell said.
“If Red Cardinal had drawn well, he couldn't help but run top three, but some has to draw out there.
“I'd always probably rather a horse like Big Duke. He hasn't got the class of Red Cardinal but he just tries all the time, whether he's feeling great or not. They are the ones the owners get a thrill out of because you can rely on them.”