Libran chases Highclere Racing Cup dream

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November 6, 2017 - 01:42 PM

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A guest speaking role before the 2003 Melbourne Cup sparked Harry Herbert's interest in the Melbourne Cup.

Through Highclere Racing, Herbert has his fourth runner in the Cup when the Chris Waller-trained Libran lines up in Tuesday's race.

Highclere Racing was founded in 1992 and has become one of Europe's leading syndicators and has had Cup runners with the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Distinction in 2004 and 2005 and the Waller-trained Opinion in 2014.

Herbert has a lifelong interest in racing as the second son of the seventh Earl of Carnarvon, the Queen's former racing manager.

Libran is 50/50 owned in the UK and Australia with Victoria Racing Club chairman Amanda Elliott a shareholder.

A trip to Melbourne as guest speaker at the Carbine Club in 2003 opened Herbert's eyes to the Melbourne Cup and he knew he wanted to be a part of it.

He had previously watched the race in the early hours at home in England but didn't fully appreciate the atmosphere until being on course.

"It's a race like no other," Herbert said.

"Having tasted a bit of that I was determined to bring a horse and we had a horse with Sir Michael Stoute that was good enough to come.

"Once you start on that process it's very have to stop and we've looked for more horses and that's what we'll continue to do."

Herbert has his fingers crossed Libran will do Highclere Racing proud on Tuesday and says it's great to be associated with the chairman of the VRC.

He said Libran was thwarted by wet tracks last preparation before finding form this campaign on drier footing.

"This prep has gone much better and ideally he likes good ground and he's drawn well (7) to get a good run," Herbert said.

"If he runs in the first 10 he will have done well while five and above, we'll have a party."

Herbert is already eyeing off future Melbourne Cups and has three-year-old Gustavus Vassa racing in Ireland with trainer Willie Mullins.

"He might be a Melbourne Cup horse next year or the year after," Herbert said.