Continuing to grow as a major target for talented international stayers since being taken out by the late, great Vintage Crop in 1993, the Melbourne Cup is once again set to feature contestants from all corners of the globe in 2014 with Japanese sensation Admire Rakti the latest runner confirmed for a trip to Australia this spring.
Initially touted for a trip down under to contest the 2013 edition of the Race that Stops a Nation, connections decided against sending Admire Rakti abroad at the eleventh hour, citing the move as too tiring for the now rising seven-year-old.
General Manger of Racing for Racing Victoria, Greg Carpenter confirmed Admire Rakti will travel to Australia to target the Melbourne Cup on November 4th, with stable mate Admire Flight also making the trip to target major middle distance events.
“There has been a flurry of e-mail from Japan over the past week and it looks as though we are absolutely guaranteed to have two Japanese horses travel again this year, which is great news,” Carpenter told Racing Ahead.
“It will probably be Admire Rakti, who ran fourth in last year’s Japan Cup and his travel companion will be Admire Flight who has won more than $2 million in prize money and he is a high class horse, but he may be looking at a race like the Mackinnon Stakes.
“With all the elements coming together, Hong Kong, Japan, a European sprinter and the other horses; there are lots of horses coming for what is going to be a great Spring Carnival.”
Claiming a total of one race victory and four minor places from just eleven competitive starts so far, Admire Rakti was a standout performer through his maiden preparation at the beginning of 2013; finishing third in both the Group 2 Kinko Sho Stakes (2011m) and Group 2 American Jockey Club Cup (2212m) before securing his only race win to date in the Group 3 Diamond Stakes (3419m) on February 16th.
Having finished second in the Group 2 Hanshin Daishoten Stakes (2614m) most notably over his most recent campaign, the Heart’s Cry entire is yet to appear in early betting markets for the 2014 Melbourne Cup, but is sure to cause noticeable ripples upon arriving in Australia.
Comfortably winning the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) during an impressive autumn campaign, Gai Waterhouse-trained The Offer remains early favourite for success in the 2014 Melbourne Cup, currently offered at generous odds of $13, ahead of Telescope ($17), La Amistad and Terrubi; currently sharing the third line of betting at a quote of $21 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
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