Simon O’Donnell is very happy to have two runners in the 2013 Melbourne Cup field at Flemington today even though both are regarded as very rough chances.
O’Donnell along with partner Terry Henderson run OTI Racing and their dream is to win the Melbourne Cup, a dream that almost materialised in 2008 when Bauer was beaten a lip by the Bart Cummings trained Viewed.
O’Donnell and OTI Racing have spent lots of time and money importing European horses to win Australia’s most famous race and will have two runners, Ibicenco and Ruscello, in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington today.
Leading Melbourne trainer Peter Moody will saddle up Ibicenco while visiting English trainer Ed Walker will be having his first Melbourne Cup runner with Ruscello.
O’Donnell went to Flemington on Saturday not very confident of having a runner today, but as the day unfolded the odds of him getting out another suit shortened when Ruscello led all of the way to win the Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m), a ballot free race for the Melbourne Cup.
Ruscello steps straight into the Melbourne Cup field with an upset win in the Lexus while Ibicenco gained a start when the connections of Mr Moet, Kelinni and Moriarty decided against a start.
“It was a strong win in front of a big crowd and I don’t know that we had any other conclusion as to which way to go,” O’Donnell said of Ruscello’s win.
“A lot of these English horses haven’t experienced coming out to 90,000 people in 28 degrees.
“It’s a big factor and for him to handle it as well as he did meant we had to run him.
“The reason we buy these horses is to run in the Cup.”
Ibicenco was given a 1kg Melbourne Cup penalty for winning the Group 3 $300,000 Sportingbet Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong on October 23 which helped his chances of gaining a start.