Melbourne Cup hopeful Tiberian part-owned by Bathurst couple

HIGH HOPES: Mick Whittaker could be holding the Melbourne Cup trophy again if the horse he and his wife own shares in wins the race next week. Photo: SUPPLIED

HIGH HOPES: Mick Whittaker could be holding the Melbourne Cup trophy again if the horse he and his wife own shares in wins the race next week. Photo: SUPPLIED

EVERYONE hopes their horse will claim victory in the Melbourne Cup, but the stakes are even higher for Bathurst residents Mick and Stacey Whittaker. 

The couple own shares in Tiberian, a French horse who in one week will run his maiden Cup race. 

They made their investment in the six-year-old bay in December 2016 after an offer to join the syndicate was presented to them by the owner of Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock. 

“We’ve had some dealings with Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock for the past few years and, every now and again, Darren Dance, the owner of that business, will throw stuff to us,” Mr Whittaker said.

“He knew that we had an interest in what is effectively one of the world’s biggest stayers horse race, which obviously is the Melbourne Cup. 

“So he threw it to us and we ummed and ahhed a little bit … and as it’s turned out, we did decide to buy a small share in Tiberian.”

Tiberian has performed well overseas, having won four of his last five races in France, including the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville.

For the Melbourne Cup, accomplished French jockey Olivier Peslier will ride Tiberian.

Although this will be his first time in Australia, he has 75 Group 1 wins in nine different countries to his name and he has rode Tiberian to victory on multiple occasions. 

“I think it is a particularly good move to have him as our jockey because he’s ridden him to four wins out of his last five races over in France,” Mr Whittaker said. 

“He is very familiar with the horse.” 

As of Monday afternoon, betting agency TAB had Tiberian sitting at $17.00, but Mr Whittaker said that the odds didn’t necessarily reflect his potential.

“The reason that the odds blow out is because he hasn’t been racing,” he said.

“So, all the Australian horses that have been racing get all the attention, which is the way, I see, you want it.

“I don’t know that the odds are a great issue when you’ve got one chance in 24; you’ve got a chance.

“All these horses are extremely good and all these jockeys are extremely good. You know, it just comes down to correct tactics on the day.”

Mr Whittaker said that he and his wife would stick by the horse regardless of whether he wins or not. 

“In your wildest dreams, your horse wins it, but look at the excitement last year for the people who came second, third, fourth, fifth; the horse is not a failure if it doesn’t win,” he said.

Tiberian arrived in Australia three weeks ago and has been at the Werribee International Horse Centre since, where he has been ridden by jockeys Craig Williams and Hugh Bowman. 

Mr Peslier and Tiberian’s trainer arrived in the country yesterday to start their preparations for the Cup.

Mr Whittaker will travel to Melbourne on Wednesday, where he will have the opportunity to see in the horse and attend fast track work at Werribee, the barrier draw on Saturday, the Melbourne Cup parade and the Call of the Card on Monday.

Mrs Whittaker will join him on Sunday and the couple will stay to cheer Tiberian on for the big race. 

It will be their first time attending the prestigious horse race.