Back in 2006 in the wake of champion mare Makybe Diva’s historic third straight Melbourne Cup victory another world first occurred with two Japanese-trained stablemates taking out the Melbourne Cup quinella– an event that is a realistic probability again in 2014.
On Tuesday Racing Victoria released 148 nominations for this year’s 154th running of the ‘race that stops a nation’ including a record 31 international entries for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 4.
Among those 31 horses trained outside of Australia and New Zealand are two from Japan with the highly touted Yoshito Yahagi-trained Bande and Admire Rakti for trainer Tomoyuki Umeda.
Looking back eight years ago, the Japanese form certainly held in Flemington’s famous two mile showdown with the Katsuhiko Sumii-trained duo of Delta Blues and Pop Rock stealing the show.
Delta Blues was the first and remains the only Japanese horse to win the Cup and he did so on the back of a third behind Tawqeet in the Caulfield Cup.
The last Japanese-trained Melbourne Cup runner then was four years ago when Tokai Trick finished 12th behind French raider Americain in 2010.
Current Melbourne Cup odds for this year’s classic are led by Gai Waterhouse’s Sydney Cup winner The Offer.
Resuming in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley this weekend, the five-year-old pays a nice $13 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Offer is also one of three for the defending Melbourne Cup winning trainer along with British imports Greatwood and Bonfire at $51 whose Sydney form down under has been promising so far.
The Japanese raiders are hot on the favourite’s tail however and occupy the next two lines of Melbourne Cup betting paying $15 (Bande) and $17 (Admire Rakti) to become the sixth internationally-trained Melbourne Cup winner in history.
The last was Dunaden back in 2011 which made it successive victories for the French.
Authorized five-year-old Bande is a winner of five of his 12 starts to date, the stallion most recently putting in a stellar five length effort to win a Listed feature over 2600m on August 10.
Seven-year-old Admire Rakti meanwhile is the highest-rated of the Melbourne Cup nominations with an international rating of 117.
He has amassed over $3.2 million in prize money over his 26-start career that includes wins right up to 3400m, and is likely to be allocated the Melbourne Cup top weight when handicaps are declared by Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter on September 16.
His latest effort was a below par 13th however in the Group 1 Tenno Sho (3200m) in May, form connections are hoping the son of Heart’s Cry can atone for.
The bookies fancy them but will the Japanese duo be there in the finish on Melbourne Cup Day?
5yo Bay Horse
D.O.B: 11 April 2010
By Authorized (IRE) from Logica (IRE)
Trainer: Yoshito Yahagi
Min/Max Dist. Wins: 2400/2600
Current Melbourne Cup Odds: $15 second favourite
Might not have been extended to the two miles but has been up over 3000m and raced competitively when third in the last year’s Japanese St Leger. Grade 2 third earlier this year in March over 2614, where Admire Rakti ran third, before another third when dropped back to 2400m and then the impressive win last time out. Connections declared Melbourne Cup plans after that success and the bookies agreed that it was a smart enough win to suggest success on the first Tuesday of November. Will be ridden by Christope Lemaire down under.
Admire Rakti (JPN)
7yo Bay Horse
D.O.B: 20 February 2008
By Heart’s Cry (JPN) from Admire Teresa (JPN)
Trainer: Tomoyuki Umeda
Min/Max Dist. Wins: 1800/3400
Current Melbourne Cup Odds: $17 third favourite
Also well fancied based on his rating and form over longer distances, this veteran failed last time out in the Tenno Sho (Spring) at Kyoto but can improve. Before that defeated Bande (3rd) home when second to Gold Ship first-up but haven’t won a race since a Group 3 over 3419m at Tokyo in February last year. Classy galloper with form around some of the best but have to wonder about the chances travelling after failed effort last time out over the two miles especially with the likely heavy kilos. Will get the advantage of an Aussie hoop though with Zac Purton confirmed to ride.
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