Plenty has been made about the chances of clear race favourite Fame Game leading into the 2015 Melbourne Cup, however the trainer of fellow Japanese raider Hokko Brave, Yasutoshi Matsunaga is thrilled with the condition of his runner and is confident he is a winning chance.
Hokko Brave has been a strong and consistent performer amongst fields boasting some of the world’s best stayers since first appearing on course competitively in 2010; claiming five wins and a further ten minors through 30 career starts.
Hokko Brave was sent off as a $16 chance for success in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in his first Australian appearance on October 17th, and having settled off the pace of the race’s early leaders, was unable to make up enough ground late owing to the fast tempo set in transit by the likes of Set Square, Magnapal and Royal Descent.
Matsunaga has been thrilled with the work produced by the Marvelous Sunday entire since his arrival in Australia and the benefit he has taken from the Caulfield Cup hit out, and remains very confident his horse is capable of overcoming the talent-rich Melbourne Cup field, including Fame Game.
“The Caulfield Cup was an unfortunate race,” Matsunaga said.
“The pace was not helpful for our horse.
“We believe we can beat Fame Game.”
Hokko Brave produced several impressive efforts through his 2014 racing campaign; running second in the Group 2 Nikkei Sho (2500m) first-up and third in the Group 1 Tenno Sho (3200m) before placing a credible eighth behind the likes of Gold Ship in the Group 1 Takarazuka Kinen (2200m).
Ending the year fifth in the Group 2 Nippon Sho Stayers Stakes (3600m) on December 6th, Hokko Brave returned this year for third in the Nikkei Sho and booked his 2015 Melbourne Cup ticket when charging home late for sixth in the Tenno Sho.
Hokko Brave has been charged with overcoming the wide and somewhat awkward barrier 20 in the 2015 Melbourne Cup, but has been confirmed to be partnered by leading hoop Craig Williams and will carry a very manageable 55.5kgs.
Leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2015 Melbourne Cup odds, for which Hokko Brave can be taken at a quote of $41 for success or $11 to finish in the first three.