Richmond premiership players Jack Riewoldt, Tom Lynch, Jack Graham, Jayden Short, Nathan Broad and Liam Baker have taken a handy share in the $1.1m prize for finishing second in the Melbourne Cup.
The syndicate of AFL players, fittingly called Punt Rd End, have a share in superstar stayer Soulcombe, who missed the start but recovered to finish runner-up in the race that stops a nation.
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Soulcombe jumped last from barrier four on Tuesday but weaved his way through the 23-strong field over the two miles, but left himself too much work to do on the final straight as Without A Fight powered to a famous victory by just over two lengths.
Soulcombe’s trainer Chris Waller said he was “really proud” of the five-year-old.
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Riewoldt said watching his first ever Melbourne Cup runner was more stressful than being in the cauldron of a packed MCG.
“I was way more nervous (on Tuesday) morning than I was before an AFL grand final, as you can have no impact on the outcome,” the retired footballer said.
“You look at the run and we probably ran up the back of a few horses there and maybe you ask ‘what if?’”
Richmond footballers and part owners (L-R) Jayden Short, Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt watching Soulcombe during gallops. Credit: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images
He said this was a different kind of excitment.
“For us, as a smaller syndicate, the Punt Rd End boys … we’ve played on one of the biggest stages on the Australian sporting calendar and to be here again on another one and have a live runner and a runner that’s run so well is so exciting,” Riewoldt said.
“Racing is probably a little bit different (to footy) as we can’t influence it one bit, like I can’t go up to Soulcombe and whisper in his ear.
“Footy we’re actually able to impact and try and get a kick … whereas we sit back in the lap of Chris Waller, (jockey) Joao Moreira, Soulcombe and the racing gods.”
Waller also hinted that a return date next November could happen, as the star horse’s big pay day balloons its overall winnings to just under $2m.
Ozzie Kheir, Jack Riewoldt, Liam Baker, John O’niell, Jack Graham and Nathan Broad are all in on Soulcombe. Credit: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images
Riewoldt is hoping to be back at Flemington next year alongside co-part-owner of Soulcombe, John O’Neill.
“Hopefully, we will be back,” Riewoldt said.
“We will look to run him at the big carnivals (in the autumn) as well.
“Smarter minds in the horse than me will make that decision, but it is great to be here.”
The owners are hoping Soulcombe goes around again next year. Credit: George Sal/Racing Photos via Getty Images
O’Neill added: “I would say he (Soulcombe) would come back next year, for sure, that’s his race.”
“Maybe Chris will iron out the little two and half start … but the Freedman horse (Without A Fight) was too good.
“He (Soulcombe) is a great horse. Chris has done a wonderful job. He is a quirky bugger and, as Chris keeps saying, he still isn’t there in the head yet.
“He has been good enough to be able to win over 1700m (the Heatherlie Handicap), he has run well in the Group 1 weight-for-age races and Chris has said we will go back and start again with the barriers.
“So, it was a great run.”
Waller said Soulcombe’s barrier manners were a work in progress. If he can get that right, the horse’s ceiling is high.
“He is not fully there yet,” he said.
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