WHAT could be better than having a share in a Melbourne Cup runner? How about taking part in the Melbourne Cup parade?
On Monday Bathurst’s Mick Whittaker was given that thrill, helping to represent Melbourne Cup hopeful Nakeeta.
He had initially just planned to take in the parade for the first time, so was delighted when offered the chance to become part of it given his status as one of Nakeeta’s part-owners.
He and his wife Stacey purchased a share in the syndicate after it was decided Tiberian – another horse they own a small percentage of – would not target the feature race this year after placing seventh in his cup debut 12 months ago.
READ MORE: Whittaker’s hope Nakeeta gets more luck
“An opportunity arose to buy into a small part of the syndication … it is a very small share so you have a little bit of the cost for 100 percent of the fun,” Mr Whittaker said.
“The English owners have 50 percent of the horse and there must be 20 other people who have the other 50 percent between them out here in Australia.
“I came down just to watch the parade and I let the syndicator know I was here and he said ‘Leave it with me, you can represent the horse.' So instead of standing and watching the parade for the first time I'm actually in the parade.
“It's pretty exciting, there might have even been a little tear in my eye of excitement.
“To be sitting in a car when there's 60-70,000 people waving at you and calling out your horse's name even if they don't give a chance, it's all good fun.”
A eight-year-old stayer from Great Britain, Nakeeta will line up for his second cup start at Flemington on Tuesday after placing fifth last year.
He is trained by Iain Jardine, will jump from barrier three with jockey Regan Bayliss aboard and have saddle cloth number 18.
Nakeeta only scraped into the Melbourne Cup field after Red Verdon was scratched and the Gai Waterhouse trained Thinkin’ Big was unable to win the Victoria Derby on Saturday to qualify.
Mr Whittaker knows he is a long shot, but is still delighted to have a horse he owns a small share in lining up in the iconic $7.3 million race.
“It's just lucky I suppose to get that very small share and get 100 percent of the fun,” he said.
“I suppose the first time being in it [last year], it was exciting, but it's a different horse this time and a different set of circumstances. Last year our horse was in, it qualified overseas, whereas this one it was a bit of a nerve-racking wait over if it was going to happen.
“Look we've got a shot, one chance it 24 as I said last year, it's pretty amazing, word's can't really describe it.”
The Melbourne Cup will jump at 3pm on Tuesday.
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