The connections of two Japanese-trained stayers have confirmed plans to target the 2015 Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse this November with Hokko Brave and Fame Game to make the trip down under.
Run on Tuesday November 3, the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) is the world’s richest handicap and is again set to attract a truly international field of stayers after the success of German raider Protectionist last spring.
Heading the futures Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au at $13 is the Yoshitada Munakata-trained Fame Game.
The Heart’s Cry stallion won the Group 3 Diamond Stakes two back before a last start second to star galloper Gold Ship in the Group 1 Tenno Sho (Spring) over the two miles at Kyoto in May.
Proven over the same 3200m distance as the Melbourne Cup, and with Japanese horses making an impact down under last spring including Admire Rakti’s Caulfield Cup success, the bookies are taking no chances with Fame Game.
Fame Game boasts winning form up to 3400m having won the past two editions of The Diamond Stakes back home, a race the ill-fated Admire Rakti won in 2013.
Melbourne Cup nominations close early next month and following the confirmation from Racing Victoria’s international recruiter Leigh Jordon that Fame Game will come to Victoria this season, the horse is set to retain his spot at the top of the Melbourne Cup betting markets.
“We saw him run second in the Tenno Sho behind Gold Ship in what was a very good one and he is a multiple Group 3 winner of the Diamond Stakes,” Jordon told Racing Ahead on Tuesday morning.
“I think Fame Game and Hokko Brave are pretty certain to come down and they will definitely be a formable team up against the Europeans and the Australians.
“We look forward to them coming.”
Also in the mix from Japan is the Yasutoshi Matsunaga-trained Hokko Brave who Ladbrokes have as a $34 chance in their all-in Melbourne Cup markets.
Matsunaga and a number of Hokko Brave’s other connections travelled to Melbourne last weekend to inspect the available facilities before locking the horse in for his international raid.
Jordon spoke to them during the visit and got the thumbs-up the son of Marvelous Sunday would make the trip for a Spring Cups bid also running in the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17 before the Melbourne Cup grand final.
“The trainer of Hokko Brave and the Racing Manager came down on the weekend to do a bit of a reconnaissance mission,” Jordon said.
“They were pretty happy with what they saw and he is pretty firm to come.”
While not boasting the same eye-catching form in recent months as Melbourne Cup favourite Fame Game Hokko Brave was third in last year’s Tenno Sho, a race he was last seen finishing sixth in this season, and has run well in the Group 2 Nikkei Sho (2500m) at Nakayama over the past two years.
The only Japanese-trained Melbourne Cup winner to date is Delta Blues who ran the quinella in the ‘race that stops a nation’ with stablemate Pop Rock back in 2006.
To check out the full Melbourne Cup betting odds before the nominations close visit Ladbrokes.com.au where your first deposit will also be matched 100% up to $500