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It has been nearly a decade since they ran the quinella in the ‘race that stops a nation’ and now the Japanese could be back in the form of Curren Mirotic who looks perfectly suited to the two miles of the Melbourne Cup 2015.
In 2006 it was the Katsuhiko Sumii-trained stablemates Delta Blues and Pop Rock running one-two in the world’s richest handicap, and since then the best Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival success for Japan was last year’s Caulfield Cup win by the ill-fated Admire Rakti.
This year the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) runs at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November, as is tradition, and one Japanese raider that could be headed for the classic is Curren Mirotic.
Prepared by Osamu Hirata, the seven-year-old son of Heart’s Cry raced this week in the Group 1 Takarazuka Kinen (2212m) but could only manage to finish a well beaten 13th behind the winner Lovely Day at Hanshin Racecourse.
That followed a string of much better runs including the brave third behind champion Gold Ship (1st) and fellow Melbourne Cup hope for 2015 Fame Game (2nd) in the coveted Group 1 Tenno Sho (Spring) run over the two miles.
Veteran stayer Curren Mirotic is obviously better suited to the 3200m and struggled over the too-short distance of the Takarazuka Kinen, something connections could give him a chance to atone for with a possible trip down under later this year.
Fully in support of the horse coming to Australia and targeting the Melbourne Cup over his pet distance is Japanese racing expert Naohiro Goda who said the race was definitely on the agenda for the horse.
“The 2200m yesterday was too short for Curren Mirotic, his best trip is two miles and if comes out of the race well I think there’s a good chance he will head to Melbourne,” Goda said, according to Racing Victoria.
All going to plan and Curren Mirotic could attempt the spring’s Cups Double down under with a lead-up run into Flemington Race 7 in the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17 where success would see back-to-back wins in the race for Japan.
The last horse to complete the Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup double in the same year meanwhile was Ethereal (2001).
“The trainer has said that if he goes to Australia they would like to give him one prep race before the Melbourne Cup and one option is the Caulfield Cup,” Goda confirmed.
“On the other hand the Caulfield Cup is only two weeks before the Melbourne Cup and the owner usually prefers a bigger gap between races so the other option is the Caulfield Stakes three weeks before the Melbourne Cup.”
Worth significantly less prize money than the Caulfield Cup over the mile and a half, the $400,000 Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) runs this year at Caulfield Racecourse on October 10.
Goda also confirmed the spring ambitions of the aforementioned Tenno Sho runner-up Fame Game, the Heart’s Cry five-year-old currently leading the all-in Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au at a quote of $15.
“Connections of Fame Game are also planning on going to Melbourne and the plan is to arrive in enough time to run in the Caulfield Cup,” he said.
“Both of those horses won’t have another run in Japan and will have a summer break.”
Out of Curren Mirotic and Fame Game, Goda leaned towards the latter as the more distinguished stayer but was keen to see how both horses stacked up down under later in the year.
“Fame Game is a very consistent horse with a good turn of foot. His running style is to come from behind and use his brilliant late kick,” he said.
“He is an ideal type of runner for the Melbourne Cup. He shouldn’t be worried by the change of climate and he can handle any type of track conditions.
“Curren Mirotic’s running style is to always chase the leader. He isn’t a frontrunner but he has good tactical speed.”
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