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Ad High Emocean (NZ) ridden by Teo Nugent on the way to the barriers prior to the running of the 2022 Lexus Melbourne Cup. (George Sal/Racing Photos)

Nugent interprets another Melbourne Cup chance

6 November 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

Young rider, fourth and third in the past two Cups, grasps another opportunity.

Teo Nugent knows he's lucky to be even be a part of this year's Melbourne Cup Carnival, so he wasn't about to die wondering when the team associated with Interpretation were in need a Melbourne Cup rider.

The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained import won his way through to Tuesday's $8 million Group 1 with victory in last week's Bendigo Cup and knowing there would be few riders available to ride at 50kg, Nugent tossed his hat into the ring.

"As soon as he won the Bendigo Cup I rang Ciaron straight away and said I'd be chucking my hand up and was ready to ride an he goes, 'no worries, thanks, we'll talk soon'.

"I was pretty confident from there on in and I knew I was a chance.

"I was also able to talk to (owners) John O'Neill and Ozzie Kheir after he won the Bendigo Cup and was able to cement myself in there and let them know I'd done a bit of work on the horse and knew him quite well.

"I'm really looking forward to Tuesday now. I'm just super grateful to Ciaron and Dave, and Ozzie and John, for getting another opportunity in the Melbourne Cup."

Nugent has much to be thankful for with the Melbourne Cup coming just over seven months after he suffered not only career-threatening, but potentially life-altering, injuries in a fall at The Valley.

The 25-year-old spent three months in a neck brace to recover from neck injuries that left him perilously close to becoming a paraplegic and was sidelined for 6-1/2 months before returning in early October.

He had to wait until Cox Plate Day for his first winner back, partnering Ashford Street to victory, which was an important confidence-booster on one of the big days of the Spring Carnival.

Nugent is no stranger to pulling out big rides in the big moments with his two Melbourne Cup engagements resulting in top-four finishes.

He finished fourth aboard Floating Artist in 2021, while last year he picked up the ride on High Emocean, who he guided into third position.

Like Interpretation, High Emocean sealed her Melbourne Cup spot with a narrow win in the Bendigo Cup and Nugent hopes a similar result awaits for Interpretation, who ran last in last year's Melbourne Cup.

"He's got the same formlines as High Emocean, she was brave in the Bendigo Cup and came out and run a blinder, so he's narrowly won the Bendigo Cup and fingers crossed he can put in an effort like her," Nugent said.

"He's just coming good, the gelding process has definitely paid off and hopefully this time around he's peaking at the right time."

Nugent and Interpretation will jump from barrier 17 and is a $126 chance.


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Prepare for a truly unforgettable Cup Week, where equine athleticism meets Melbourne style in a spectacular showcase of thoroughbred excellence. Be there to experience the magic trackside as new champions etch their names into racing folklore. Tickets still available, don't miss out!.