Williams chases 6th Cup, Scotland its 1st

Trainer Iain Jardine with Nakeeta at Werribee racecourse
Iain Jardine is the first Scottish trainer to have a runner in the $6 million Melbourne Cup.

Iain Jardine didn’t know much about the Melbourne Cup before becoming the 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 the Ebor.

“We were really tempted by the prize money and thought the 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 year’s 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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