FORMER Wagga man Brian Lynch will look to become the first Australian to win the world famous Kentucky Derby next week.
Lynch is thrilled to saddle up his first runner in the time-honoured Kentucky Derby (2000m), which carries a purse of $3 million US.
Lynch trains at Churchill Downs and will send around two-time group winner Classic Causeway in the race after a late change of heart.
"Absolutely excited about it," Lynch told Twinspires Racing's Andrew Brown this week.
"I would like to be going in there with our last race a little bit better, that always leaves a little bit of a pit in your guts but the horse gives me the confidence to say that he's back here in his backyard, he's trained right here at Churchill Downs so he's running out of his stall and we hope to just turn that form around."
Classic Causeway ran last in the Florida Derby last start, a run that prompted Lynch to rule him out of the Kentucky Derby.
But owners of the horse, Patrick O'Keefe and Clarke Cooper, changed his mind.
"They're in their 80s, it's been their lifetime dream to run in the derby," Lynch explained.
"They've got a healthy horse who threw in one bad race so who am I to hold them back from that."
Lynch grew up in Wagga but left for the United States as a 21-year-old to embark on a bull-riding career.
He switched to horse training in 1992 and has since gone on to win 720 races, earning more than $47 million in stakes.
Some of Lynch's family and friends from Wagga will travel to the US this week to be trackside for Lynch's big moment.
"It's certainly a great thing to achieve. My brother's coming over from Australia, we're going to enjoy it either way, win, lose or draw," he said.
"I really feel like this horse is doing well, there's not a lot of speed in the race and I think we'll find him up close and let's hope we've got him good enough on the day."
Lynch will be looking to become the first Australian to train the winner of the Kentucky Derby.
Murray Johnson went close on two occasions and Lynch will be hoping to cause an upset with Classic Causeway a 40-1 chance for the race in the US.
MORE SPORT NEWS
"We sat quietly behind the scenes for a while after the Florida Derby, that was just a spanner in the works and wanted to make sure everything was right with him," Lynch said.
"I looked for a lot of excuses not to run him but he kept giving me excuses to think about running him.
"I've got two owners there that are very keen to run in the race, that's not the reason I'm running him, our last work was really good, he's doing really well and I've just got to put a line through his last race and I feel like when you do that, he's resume is as good as anything in there.
"I'm not saying he can win it but I feel he can be competitive and I feel like he's a lovely, sound horse that's doing well so let's give him a chance to try and win it."
Classic Causeway has already won the colt who had won the group three Sam F. Davis and group two Tampa Bay Derby this season.
Julien Leparoux will take the ride.
The race is run at 8.57am on Sunday morning, May 8, in Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.