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Connections of Admire Rakti have confirmed a 2014 Melbourne Cup start for the Japanese stayer, despite suggestions he would return home if re-handicapped for the race.
Racing Victora chief handicapper Greg Carpenter penalised Admire Rakti 0.5kg yesterday, following his impressive Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) win.
“Admire Rakti was enormously impressive [in the Caulfield Cup] making a long sustained run down the middle of the track and he was strong through the line at the end of 2400m suggesting that 3200m at Flemington would be to his liking,” Carpenter told TVN.
“I had to strike a balance between the terms on which those that finished behind him at Caulfield would meet him next start and the new wave of rivals that awaits him at Flemington.
This means the six-year-old horse will now carry the topweight of 58.5kg in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 4. A weight not carried by a winner since 1975 by Think Big.
Owner Riichi Kondo had earlier threatened to pull Admire Rakti from the Melbourne Cup if he was re-handicapped in favour of the Group 1 Japan Cup (2400m) but announced late Monday afternoon that the horse would stay in Melbourne.
Kondo, through his interpreter, told Racing Victoria’s international consultant Leigh Jordon on Monday that Admire Rakti would be running in the 2014 Melbourne Cup.
Jordon said Kondo told him: “I have made a decision – we’re going forward. The horse is staying for the Cup.
“Mr Kondo said he’s assessed everything, where that put the horse in historic terms and canvassed the views of the trainer.
“He said Tomoyuki Umeda (the trainer) is keen to run and so are the rest of the staff.
“He has already created history as the first Japanese winner of the Caulfield Cup and we’re pleased that he’ll be given the opportunity to become the first international to complete the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double,” Jordon concluded.
Admire Rakti remains the favourite in the Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au after shortening to $4.60 following his 2014 Caulfield Cup win.
He will need to be at the top of his game to overcome his weight of 58.5kg, but he proved the naysayers wrong at Caulfield and could easily do it again at Flemington next month.
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