Connections of 2015 Melbourne Cup favourite Fame Game are confident that he can live up to the hype and salute in the Group 1 event at Flemington on Tuesday.
Fame Game was stamped as a leading Melbourne Cup contender as soon as connections confirmed that he would make the trip to Australia following his second place finish behind Gold Ship in the Group 1 Tenno Sho (3200m) at Kyoto on May 3 and his priced shortened into 2015 Melbourne Cup odds of $4 following his fast-finishing sixth in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 10.
The confidence surrounding Fame Game only increased when he was drawn in the middle of the Melbourne Cup field at the barrier draw yesterday and trainer Yoshitada Munakata told the media this morning that he could not be happier with his star stayer ahead of ‘the race that stops a nation’.
“Hopefully he can run up to everyone’s expectations,” Munakata said through a translator.
“Of course there’s a lot of pressure but our expectation and hope is bigger than the pressure.
“There certainly is plenty of hype at home but nowhere near as much as in Australia.”
There was plenty of controversy surrounding Zac Purton’s ride on Fame Game in the Caulfield Cup and he was called in front of stewards to explain why he did not ride the Japanese stayer more aggressively in the final stages of the race.
Munakata said that Purton will ride Fame Game in similar fashion in the 2015 Melbourne Cup, but he is hopeful that Fame Game will settle slightly closer to the speed and find clear running further from home.
“He will be ridden similarly in between horses but hopefully he can settle closer, maybe midfield, because the race is over more distance,” Munakata said.
“He’s definitely better suited over the extra distance of the Melbourne Cup (than the 2400m at Caulfield).”
Fame Game has the chance to join Let’s Elope (1991), Might And Power (1997), Jezabeel (1998), Makybe Diva (2004 and 2005) and Fiorente (2013) as the only favourite to have won the Melbourne Cup in the past 30 years.
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