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Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

I'll receive trophy in thong if Magic Circle lands Melbourne Cup warns Koukash

Marwan Koukash: colourful owner promises he will strip off if he wins the Melbourne Cup with Magic Circle
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Marwan Koukash has built a reputation for celebrating his victories in outlandish ways and the high-profile owner, who landed his 500th British winner on Tuesday, has cooked up a new plan if Magic Circle wins the Lexus Melbourne Cup. 

On Thursday Koukash revealed that, like Magic Circle, he is training hard for the A$7.3 million (£4m) race, as if his horse wins at Flemington on November 6 he intends to receive the trophy in nothing but a tie and a thong. 

The owner planned to execute a similar move at Chester when the Ian Williams-trained six-year-old won him his fourth Chester Cup in May, but was stopped by security. 

Get in! Owner Marwan Koukash punches the air after Magic Circle's Chester Cup win

He said: "I'm working hard and training to look better as I look awful now. I'm hoping the Aussies show a bit more sport because I want to accept the trophy in a tie and a thong – they better have extra security as there's no way in hell they're stopping me!"

Magic Circle was trimmed to 14-1 joint-second favourite (from 16) by Coral on Thursday alongside Godolphin's Cross Counter, while Withhold heads the betting at 12-1.

"Marwan Koukash has said he will collect the trophy wearing only a thong should his horse win the Melbourne Cup, but we're not sure if that threat, or promise, has prompted the support for the Chester Cup winner!" said Coral's David Stevens.

Last year's winning rider Corey Brown has already been booked for the ride on Magic Circle, and Koukash thinks having a local jockey is a big advantage. 

Mount Athos: finished third in the 2013 Melbourne Cup

He said: "Ryan Moore rode Mount Athos the first time he ran in the race and I think if he'd have had more experience at the track he would have won.

"Corey's agent contacted me over two months before the race. They know the form very well and I've never known a top jockey like him pursue a ride so early before."

Koukash may be confident no-one can persuade him not to strip off, but Williams is happy he successfully discouraged the owner not to run the son of Makfi in the Lonsdale Cup at York.

Watch: Magic Circle streak away from his rivals in the Group 3 Henry II Stakes at Sandown

Connections did not want to risk running Magic Circle against Stradivarius as it could have resulted in a hike in the weights for the Cup.

He said: "I was delighted to have persuaded him [Koukash] not to run at York.

"I don't think I've ever been so organised for a race before. He's qualified for the race, he's got a nice weight and the jockey has been booked. We're very happy with him.

Spellbinding: Chester Cup star Magic Circle (left) surges clear to win the Henry II Stakes in superb style

"He won the Chester Cup after a break and this has been the plan since Sandown, where he really impressed me. He's a straightforward horse who has progressed well."

Magic Circle will be a second runner in the race for Williams, who saddled the Koukash-owned Munsef to finish 12th in 2009.

The gelding will enter quarantine in Newmarket on September 27 and is due to fly out to Australia in mid-October. 

The trainer added: "It's all become a bit real now the entries have come out. It's a huge experience, the race really does stop the nation, and since we were there last the quality and profile of the race has been raised."

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I'm hoping the Aussies show a bit more sport because I want to accept the trophy in my tie and a thong
E.W. Terms
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