Billionaire Marwan Koukash has promised a celebration like no other if his horse Magic Circle wins Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, saying he will strip down to his G-string to receive the trophy.
While there has been plenty of debate about the increasing international involvement in Australia’s biggest race, there is no doubting the flamboyant businessman has added colour to the Cup build-up.
“When we win on Tuesday no one is going to stop me providing Flemington with the most colourful celebrations they’ve ever had,” Koukash said.
“I’m going to take my clothes off – I’ll keep my tie, my thong and my socks and shoes – and I will get up and receive the trophy.
“I know they are going to employ security to try to stop me but I know how to evade them and I’m going to deliver.”
Koukash, who was born in Palestine and now lives in Manchester, has a history in the race and believes Magic Circle is his best chance yet to fulfil his dream of winning a Melbourne Cup.
GALLERY: British billionaire and owner of Magic Circle, Marwan Koukash, has put on a g-string in front of crowds at the Melbourne Cup parade today. #9News https://t.co/godjb9ZLPh pic.twitter.com/zRUB1harH1— Nine News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) November 5, 2018
“This horse is the best stayer I’ve ever had. I’ve had runners in the Melbourne Cup before, mainly Mount Athos who finished third [in 2013],” he said.
“Trust me, this horse is a better horse than Mount Athos. This horse is going to deliver the dream on Tuesday.”
But if he does win the Melbourne Cup and follow through with his promise, Koukash is expecting backlash from his wife.
Very happy with gate 17 for magic circle. Gate 13 would have been a little better. pic.twitter.com/B18Kw2LfYT— Marwan Koukash (@drmarwanK) November 4, 2018
“She’s going to divorce me if she hears about the celebration. But like I said before, it’s easier finding a new wife than winning the Melbourne Cup,” he joked.
Magic Circle ($8) sits second in the betting and jumps from barrier 17 underneath Corey Brown. The Aidan O’Brien-trained Yucatan is favourite and was all the rage after his dominant win in the Herbert Power Stakes, however he has drifted from $4.50 to $6.50 after drawing barrier 23.
Star Hong Kong jockey Zac Purton has a ride in the race, partnering Chris Waller’s Finche. Purton travelled to Melbourne to ride Red Verdon in the Caulfield Cup two weeks ago, who is owned by former Hong Kong Jockey Club chairman Ronald Arculli, but opted for Finche in Tuesday’s race.
It turned out to be the right choice as far as getting a ride in the race – with Red Verdon withdrawn on Saturday because of a foot abscess – but Purton is not getting too excited about his chances of winning his first Melbourne Cup.
“He probably doesn’t have the strongest form lines and he really hasn’t had the preparation in Australia for the race, but he can stay,” Purton said of Finche.
“His first-up run [when third in the Geelong Cup] was solid. He looked like he was carrying a bit of condition and seemed to get on the bridle a little bit in the early and mid stages of the race. He was flat footed around the corner but kept grinding away.
“If he can relax a bit better and take some benefit from that run he’s probably a sneaky chance, but if we can get prize money [by finishing in the top 12], I think that is probably a little bit more realistic.”