Max Dynamite won the Lonsdale Cup earlier in the seasonPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Fish out of water Ricci chasing Melbourne glory
Preview: Australia, Tuesday
Flemington: Emirates Melbourne Cup (Group 1 handicap) 3yo+ 2m
RICH RICCI is no stranger to big-race success but finds himself in alien territory as Max Dynamite bids to give the prolific owner of top-class jumps horses, victory in one of Flat racing's most iconic races.
Having a Melbourne Cup contender has certainly taken the Cheltenham Festival-winning owner out of his comfort zone, although he is doing his best to get into the Spring Carnival atmosphere.
"I feel a bit detached," he said. "Obviously I'm in the cut and thrust of jump racing every day. You feel the ups and downs, you know what you're doing and you have a sense of the other horses. I don't have that here so it's at bit arm's length.
"Clearly it's a treat to be here and it would be a dream come true to win but I'm not quite sure how I feel. It's unusual but I'm enjoying it I have to say."
Max Dynamite was purchased from the Flat to excel over jumps but wherever his future lies, Ricci is confident the best is yet to come.
He said: "He ran a brilliant race in the Northumberland Plate, which was quite soft ground and he was drawn horribly out wide but still finished second. We thought it was worth taking another punt on the Flat and thought we'd run in the Lonsdale Cup but in-between that we ran in the Galway Hurdle, which is an unusual prep for these staying races but he ran a very good race in second, then won decisively at York.
"He's now rated 118 at home on the Flat but I don't think we've seen the best of him yet."
'Willie is a magician'
Ricci thinks Willie Mullins' previous Melbourne Cup experience is a huge bonus for Max Dynamite and spoke with the highest regard for Ireland's champion jumps trainer.
He added: "What I love about Willie is one, he's an intelligent man and two, he's hungry and anxious to learn. So when he had Holy Orders here years ago and Simenon a couple of years back, he'd have banked all of that knowledge. So coming out here he would have known exactly what he wanted his team here to do prior to the run, from the work to the bloods. Willie is a magician and the horse had a great preparation."
Colm O'Donoghue rides Kingfisher and said: "He's relaxed, handles the ground and also has the experience. He was second in an Irish Derby, so has tactical speed and I think you need that."
Brett Prebble rides Bondi Beach, although O'Donoghue was aboard at Doncaster last time and said of his chance: "He's very good. He's an improving three-year-old with great from coming into the race. I suppose the only thing is he's inexperienced but he's got a lot of good credentials and has the ability."
Max Dynamite is shortest of the trio in the market at a best-price 10-1 with Bondi Beach available at 20-1 and Kingfisher at 25-1.
A strong European challenge for the race is headlined by Trip To Paris, while stablemate and three-time runner-up Red Cadeaux is a 25-1 to land victory.