‘You Aussies!’: Racing champ calls out Melbourne Cup critics
Legendary European racing figure Johnny Murtagh has given a cheeky whack to critics of the Melbourne Cup’s growing international status.
The Cup has been dominated by raiders in recent years, prompting some — admittedly mainly jealous types from Sydney — to suggest the race has lost its appeal as a national icon.
Murtagh, a champion Irish jockey who trained two runners in the 2014 edition, called out that myopia for the nonsense that it is.
“You Aussies are a sporting nation,” he told Tony Jones from 3AW’s Birdcage studio. “You can’t say you’ve got the best race in the world and then keep it all to yourselves!
“You have to open it up, embrace the international challenge.
“I think it’s only going to be good for the sport in the long run.
“It’s only getting bigger and bigger every year and back in Europe it’s one of the big ones you want to win.”
That said, Murtagh says Australian horses have a strong chance to claim this year’s $8 million edition.
“Finche, Vow and Declare and Surprise Baby — they’re the three big hopes, and for the race it would be good for them (to win).”
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