WHEN Alexandra Hills resident John Fiteni bought current Melbourne Cup favourite Surprise Baby, he told his partner Kathy Stewart he just liked the way it walked.
Stewart said that was the way Fiteni picked most of his horses, on a gut feel rather than using hard and fast rules.
"John saw it online, watched it, liked it and that was it - he bought it straight away," she said.
That gut feel could earn the couple a fortune if Surprise Baby, bought for just $5,500 from a New Zealand breeder in 2017, takes out the $8 million Melbourne Cup on November 5.
It is currently priced at $9 with some bookmakers and is considered the favourite by many racing pundits.
"Some people think it is (the favourite), some people don't," Stewart said.
"I'm going there to win."
The son of 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Shocking, Surprise Baby earned a ticket to the race that stops the nation with a win at The Bart Cummings on a 2500 metre track.
Only a few months earlier the five-year-old gelding was edged out by Steel Prince at the Andrew Ramsden stakes.
Stewart said Surprise Baby's win in its sixth start at the Adelaide Cup showed it could compete over 3200 metres - the length of the Melbourne Cup track.
"The horse can run all distances," she said.
"It ticks all the boxes."
Stewart, who has been involved in horse racing since 2006, said Surprise Baby was the best horse she had owned.
"We had one that was going to be a Group One but it had an accident," she said.
Stewart and Fiteni will be track-side to cheer their horse home on Melbourne Cup day.
"We will be down in the mounting yard once they start parading our horse," she said.
"You've got to be down there for an occasion like that."
Surprise Baby has won $721,000 prize money from 10 starts.
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