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Newmarket-based trainer James Ferguson looks ahead to Deauville Legend's tilt at the Lexus Melbourne Cup





James Ferguson is remaining quietly optimistic about his chances of winning the famous Lexus Melbourne Cup with pre-race favourite Deauville Legend next week.

The Newmarket-based trainer has an entry in the two-mile handicap which boasts $8million in prize money and is known in Australia as ‘the race that stops the nation.’

And in Deauville Legend, Ferguson has the 9/2 favourite in Tuesday’s race, but the trainer is not getting ahead of himself in his bid to land victory in the Melbourne Cup at the first attempt.

Trainer of Deauville Legend, James Ferguson, beside Kerrin McEvoy as they head to the start of their gallop at Werribee Racecourse Picture: Racing Photos
Trainer of Deauville Legend, James Ferguson, beside Kerrin McEvoy as they head to the start of their gallop at Werribee Racecourse Picture: Racing Photos

“It’s very exciting, but it’s a very competitive race,” Ferguson said.

“We’ve got to enjoy the fact we’re here and just hope for the best.

“It would be wonderful to win it, but we’re no way expecting to.

“He travelled well and his final pieces of work have gone smoothly.

“It’s very different training on a race track in Australia than it is at home and it’s a very long way to travel.

Deauville Legend will be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday Picture: Racing Photos
Deauville Legend will be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday Picture: Racing Photos

“It takes a bit of time for a horse to get over a flight, but touch wood he’s handled the situation very well.

“We’re looking forward to hopefully a big run.

“This is one of the pinnacle Group 1s in the world but we’re going into it hopefully at 100 per cent and we’re looking forward to it.”

While a victory at Flemington Racecourse next week would be ‘the stuff of dreams’ for Ferguson, three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who will ride Deauville Legend, could also create his own piece of history.

The Australian won the Melbourne Cup in 2000, 2016 and 2018, the latter of those with Charlie Appleby’s Cross Counter, and can equal Bobbie Lewis and Harry White on a joint-record four victories with another triumph on Tuesday.

“He’s won the race three times and he’s sat on the horse here twice,” Ferguson said.

“When you’ve got a jockey that knows the track very well it gives us confidence.

“Kerrin was picked by the owner very early. He’s got an affiliation with the owner and as soon as it was decided we’re going to the Melbourne Cup they got in touch with Kerrin.”

Ferguson, who has been training since 2019, travelled out to Australia last week, a trip he has made several times before, but this time the first as his own trainer.

“I worked here a couple of times and travelled with horses for Charlie Appleby,” he said.

“It’s always a place I wanted to come back to and this will be the first runner I’ve had in Australia.

“I’ve been here a week now. I’ve got Alyson West and Angus Villiers here doing a great job.

“The Melbourne Cup is such a huge event. I’ve had my eye on it for a long time.

“It’s the first time it’s been open in two years due to Covid, so we’re expecting a massive crowd.

“The Flemington race track is huge and they do a wonderful job.”