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Owner hopes Smokin’ Romans will light up Melbourne Cup

Smokin' Romans (NZ) after winning  the TAB Turnbull Stakes at Flemington Racecourse on October 01, 2022 in Flemington, Australia. (Photo by George Sal/Racing Photos via Getty Images)

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Smokin’ Romans after winning the TAB Turnbull Stakes at Flemington Racecourse on 1 October, 2022.
Photo: Getty Images

A nervous owner is taking every hour as it comes as he waits to see how his horse fares in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington today.

It’s a long way from Dannevirke to Melbourne, but Steve Prenter has made the journey in order to watch his horse, Smokin’ Romans, compete in the Melbourne Cup this afternoon.

The horse, one of six New Zealand chances at Flemington, will be ridden by Jamie Kah and is the favourite of the Kiwi hopes.

The six-year-old gelding has already had some success over in Australia, winning the $1 million Turnbull Stakes last month.

Prenter said he was feeling very nervous and was crossing his fingers that forecast rain would hold off for the biggest day on Australasia’s racing calendar.

He was buoyed by a trainer rating his horse as “a very good chance”.

“It didn’t have the perfect run in the Caulfield Cup where it was the favourite but I’m pretty confident we can turn things around.

“It’s never raced over that distance before so that’s the unknown but it can handle all track conditions and [there’s] a top jockey on so let’s keep our fingers crossed.”

While Smokin’ Romans is a novice at the Melbourne Cup’s 3200 metre distance, it has won a 2500m race and has also won on soft heavy tracks.

“It’s a New Zealand-bred horse so it’s bred to stay.”

Prenter said it was his first time being a part-owner of a Melbourne Cup horse and it was a dream come true.

The horse came to the attention of his syndicate when they attended one of the Karaka sales.

It was eventually bought by top Victoria trainer Darren Weir. The group ended up being able to purchase a 65 percent share in the horse from Weir and sent it to Australia to be trained.

Prenter hoped that he would have plenty of support among the people of Dannevirke where 99 percent of the residents knew him, he said.

The race favourite is English thoroughbred Deauville Legend, trained in England by James Ferguson. Deauville Legend won the Great Voltigeur Stakes over 2385m at York in August.

The horses jump at 5pm New Zealand time.

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