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Jul 18

Towzell having first crack at greatest race

GOLDEN AMBITION: Richard Pegum and Garry and Marianne Towzell celebrate Trade Commissioner’s win the Wagga Gold Cup in May. The trio are hoping another of their horses, Junoob, can bring home the Melbourne Cup today.
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Melbourne Cup

A LIFELONG dream of Wagga businessman Garry Towzell will come true today when Junoob lines up in the $6 million Melbourne Cup (3200m).

After winning the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) last month with Junoob Towzell, wife Marianne and former Wagga man Richard Pegum will be at Flemington to cheer home their seven-year-old.

Pegum owned a share in Brew when he won the race that stops a nation in 2000, but it’s the first time the Towzells will have a runner in the race.

He’s had December Draw and Junoob run in Caulfield Cups, but having a runner in the Melbourne Cup is just a little more special.

“It’s amazing and a privilege really,” Towzell said.

“It’s something you never think is going to happen, but when it happens it takes a little while to sink in.

“People dream about it, but very rarely does it happen – particularly from our base at Wagga.

“There has been other people from Wagga that have had interest in horses, but it’s a pretty exciting time.”

Finishing seventh behind Melbourne Cup favourite Admire Ratki in the Caulfield Cup, Junoob is rated a $26 chance and has the services of leading jockey Hugh Bowman.

Travelling to Melbourne to soak up the Cup atmosphere early, the trio of owners were on hand for the barrier draw on Saturday night.

Drawing barrier seven has only enhanced the chances of the English import, but Towzell isn’t going into the race with much confidence.

“We aren’t expecting to get any of the spoils, we are just thankful to have a runner and will enjoy the day,” he said.

“He’s a Group 1 winner, but there is some pretty good horses in this race and it’s not an easy race to win.

“We are just having a roll of the dice and hoping for the best.”

Junoob was originally purchased to win the Wagga Gold Cup, but after linking with Chris Waller he exceeded expectations.

He raced at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day last year, finishing ninth in a rating 96 event.

From there he’s won six races, including The Metropolitan, and been placed in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m).

It will be a real family affair for the Towzells with sons Andrew and Phillip to be trackside.

Phillip has flown in from New York for the race, with his business trip timed to perfection.

“We’ve got the family all here so we are going to have a great family day,” Towzell said.

“It’s just a wonderful experience and we are delighted to have a runner.

“When they go out there we will have a great day.”

While Towzell has never owned a runner in the Melbourne Cup, he has sold a winner of time-honoured race.

Towzell purchased an unnamed horse for $2000 in 1979, before selling him for $50,000.

The horse was Just A Dash who went on to win Adelaide St Leger, Adelaide Cup and, finally, the Melbourne Cup in 1981.

Just A Dash was purchased by a group of businessmen including Lloyd Williams, but Towzell doesn’t like to focus on the past.

“There is no use looking back, you move forward and move on,” he said.

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