Kerrin McEvoy To Ride Melbourne Cup Favourite Deauville Legend

James Ferguson: “The Melbourne Cup has been on the cards ever since he won the Bahrain Trophy.” | Tattersalls

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Connections of the Melbourne Cup favourite Deauville Legend (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) have bolstered their chances of winning the race that stops a nation by securing the services of local jockey Kerrin McEvoy.

A three-time Melbourne Cup-winning rider, McEvoy, who has a close relationship with Deauville Legend's owner Bon Ho, will take over from regular rider Daniel Muscutt.

Trainer James Ferguson has arrived in Australia early to see his former inmate and breakthrough Group 1 scorer El Bodegan (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) tackle Saturday's Cox Plate on debut for Chris Waller and reported Deauville Legend to be in top shape ahead of his date with destiny on November 1.

He said, “The owner has an affiliation with Kerrin McEvoy, so he will ride the horse in the Melbourne Cup. Dan has done a wonderful job on the horse and is a huge part of our team and Bon Ho is very grateful for everything he has done with the horse. 

“But, like I said, Kerrin already has an affiliation with Bon Ho in Australia and has won the race three times before, so he knows the track very well.”

Ferguson added, “Having Deauville Legend to look forward to in the Melbourne Cup is huge for the team. He's in great order. It's a race that Bon Ho has always wanted to win. 

“Ever since my time with Charlie Appleby, when I used to come down here and travel horses for him, it's a race I have always been very keen on coming down and performing well in. It's very exciting. 

“We still have a couple of weeks to go and everything will need to go right. If we can get there in one piece on the day then hopefully he will have a very good chance.”

Bon Ho has played a major role at the yearling sales in recent months and Ferguson has been one of the main beneficiaries of that spending power with much of the ammunition filtered through his Newmarket stable. 

The owner had his colours carried to Everest glory in 2020 by Classique Legend (Aus) (Not A Single Doubt {Aus}) and Ferguson revealed that a plan was hatched to try and win the Melbourne Cup with Deauville Legend shortly after the 3-year-old won the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket in July.

He said, “Mr Bon Ho really understands horses and he understands racing, which makes it far more enjoyable for a trainer. To support me with such incredible pedigrees so early in my training career, we feel very lucky. To have this horse, who's clearly very good, coming down here and potentially winning one of the biggest races in the world, would be hugely gratifying. 

“The Melbourne Cup has been on the cards ever since he won the Bahrain Trophy. His performance at Goodwood solidified that thought. Bon loves having runners in Australia, has had some really good horses here and, basically, we act as a nursery in England for his horses to come down here because the prize-money is so much better. It has always been on the horizon that this horse may end up running in Australia.”

El Bodegan put Ferguson in the spotlight when landing the G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud 12 months ago and the trainer is looking forward to seeing how his former stable star fares on his Australian debut.

He said, “We've come down early to support El Bodegan and Chris [Waller] in the Cox Plate. Especially with the rain that they have had here recently, I think he has a huge chance. 

“That could be very exciting. It will be great to catch up with all of the owners as well. They have been huge supporters of mine since I started training. To be able to catch up with them will be great.”

 

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