JAMIE Edwards looked around the room at the Melbourne Cup barrier draw on Saturday night and wondered whether he should be there.
“It was quite humbling. It really hit me at the barrier draw,” the trainer said.
“There’s well known people everywhere and sheiks with runners and I’m just a battler from Freshwater Creek and (owner) Mike Palmer is from Meredith and we’ve got a runner in the Cup.”
Although Sertorius is a $201 chance, Edwards and Palmer are living their dream by just having a starter.
“I suppose we’re representing 99.9 per cent of owners and trainers in Australia. We’re representing the average person. Every Australian trainer wants to have a Cup runner and I think there’s only six or seven of us.”
“Where the Melbourne Cup’s going, with the internationals it’s going to get harder and harder to get a runner.”
Sertorius is also the only Australian-bred runner.
To underline his achievement, Edwards trains between 20 and 25 horses from his Freshwater Creek property, Emsley Lodge, and would easily have the smallest team of any Cup trainer.
The pair could have had the Melbourne Cup experience last year but chose not to.
“After Sertorius didn’t fire in last year’s Geelong Cup I suggested to Mike we shouldn’t run him for the sake of it and he agreed but that’s been Mike’s approach from the start. Patience and putting the horse first.”
This approach has paid off with the eight-year-old gelding having won 10 races including the Group 2 Zipping Classic for $1.2 million in prizemoney.
Both Edwards and Palmer are under no illusions that the horse named after a one-eyed Roman general faces a tough task tomorrow.
Edwards said Sertorius was $201 for a reason but a much better chance than those odds indicate.
“He’s been trained for two miles and that’s how he’s running. He’s been settling in the back half of the field but that won’t happen in the Melbourne Cup,” he said.
Edwards and Palmer went to the 2008 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale wanting to buy a Galileo filly but instead bought a Galileo colt.
Palmer had a strict budget of $100,000 and that was what they paid for Sertorius.
“In Australia we have an emphasis on two-year-old races when the horse’s body isn’t necessarily in alignment,” Palmer said.
“I think horses don’t really develop until they’re late four-year-olds and keep on improving until they’re eight.”
Main Image: Trainer Jamie Edwards with his Cup outsider Sertorius at Emsley Lodge, Picture: Colleen Petch