Cup g-string threat: 'He's crazy, but he'll do it'
HE'S "wild", according to his own daughter, but one owner is intending to steal the spotlight should his horse salute in Australia's biggest race - with the "lace that stops the nation".
British racehorse owner Marwan Koukash has not backed down from his declaration that should Magic Circle win the Melbourne Cup, he will accept the trophy wearing only a G-string, his tie and his shoes.
"This is the lace that's gonna stop the nation," he said on Monday, holding the hot pink lingerie aloft.
"Why do you keep saying if? It's not 'if', it's 'when'. When we win that Cup, shortly after three o'clock, Flemington will see something they have never seen before - or are unlikely to ever see again.
"They're going to have a crazy owner wearing nothing but this, a tie, and socks. That crazy owner is me."
Koukash modelled the intimate underwear over his jeans in front of hundreds of racing fans at Federation Square oin Monday before he doubled down after some baiting from countryman and trainer Charlie Fellowes, saying if A Prince of Arran won, he would "strip naked".
If anyone could be forgiven by being embarrassed by his antics it is his 19-year-old daughter Layla, but the Liverpool teenager couldn't be prouder of her dad.But she has warned - he will follow through with his promise.
"I think it's absolutely brilliant," she said.
"My dad's absolutely crazy but there's nothing wrong with it. He's not doing anyone any harm."(He's like this) all the time ... maybe it's a little bit more because it's the Melbourne Cup. He's always like this at home, as well. He's wild."
Layla has an important job on Tuesday - Koukash's handful of G-strings are kept in the 19-year-old's handbag.
"I've literally got two in my bag right now," she said. "He keeps them in my bag. One's pinky-purple. One's blue. I'll try (to forget them), for everyone's sake.
"He will (do it), if the security doesn't hold him down. Which I hope they do.
"He probably will do it."
It isn't the first chapter in Koukash's remarkable story. A refugee from Palestine, he says he did not wear a pair of shoes until the age of 12, having been forced off the family farm by war at the age of nine and into a refugee camp.
He studied in Liverpool and is now a businessman who owns a rugby league team and horses - including Magic Circle.
"Considering where's he's come from at the beginning of this life, and now he's got one of the favourites in the Melbourne Cup - it's his favourite race in the world," Layla Koukash said.
"I just pray that he gets to achieve his dream and win this race."I'm so proud of where he's come from and where he is now, and he's so humble with it all."
Meanwhile, jockey Corey Brown has no doubt that Magic Circle can deliver first-up in the Melbourne Cup despite a lengthy lay-off from racing.
The seven-year-old has not raced since May, when it won the Chester Cup and Group 3 Henry II Stakes at Sandown over 3200m within a fortnight.
But Brown - who is attempting to win a second-consecutive and third Melbourne Cup - said he was confident that the extended break would only suit the English stayer.
"Not at all (am I concerned), because when you go back through his form, he's had 60 days between runs," he said.
"You know what the European stayers are like - they can go 12 months and don't have a run and then they start them at a two miles or a mile and a quarter first-up.
"That doesn't bother me at all, because Ian (Williams, its trainer) says he actually races better when he's had his runs with space."