Hisashi Shimizu Backs Damian Lane to Get the Job Done on Melbourne Cup Favourite Mer De Glace

November 4, 2019

Hisashi Shimizu Backs Damian Lane to Get the Job Done on Melbourne Cup Favourite Mer De Glace

Caulfield Cup winner and Japanese superstar Mer De Glace continues to fluctuate in Melbourne Cup betting ahead of the $7 million race that stops a nation on Tuesday.

Hisashi Shimizu’s five-year-old firmed all the way into $6.50 following Saturday’s barrier draw before drifting slightly on Monday back out to the $7.00 mark. Even so, the Japanese stayer remains the favourite in barrier two and looks extremely tough to beat as he looks to claim his seventh win on the trot.

Jockey Damian Lane will be in the saddle again after scouting the horse back in June. Lane rode Mer De Glace to a win in the Group 3 Naruo Kinen (2000m) at Hanshin and quickly convinced owners to make the trip to Australia.

Jockey Damian Lane, Hisashi Shimizu and Mer De Glace celebrate their Caulfield Cup win. Photo Credit: Ultimate Racing Photos.

Mer De Glace lived up to the hype in the Caulfield Cup, blazing past a field of homegrown and international talent to win comfortably by a length.

Shimizu provided an update prior to Mer De Glace’s grand final run and started off by saying the horse is fit and firing for a step up in trip.

“He’s been well, nothing to be worried about. He’s started working straight away, he’s very well,” Shimizu told Racing.com through a translator on Monday.

The Caulfield has long been a steppingstone for top class stayers eyeing Australia’s grandest prize. Eleven horses have completed the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double, with Ethereal being the most recent to do so in 2001.

Shimizu went on to say that the Caulfield Cup was Mer De Glace’s main target but after showing so much promise and improvement in the run, the stable had no other choice but to look ahead to that one famous Tuesday in November.

“When we left Japan, we didn’t really have the primary goal for those races, but we wanted to have a horse close to 100% for the Caulfield Cup. If those ran well of course we’d look into the Melbourne Cup, but we didn’t really have a priority or anything like that” Shimizu said.

Several pundits have knocked Mer De Glace’s chances in the Cup suggesting the step up in trip could prove too much. The stable have never ventured past the 2400m mark but Shimizu is feeling confident Lane can bring out the best in his horse.

“I’ve been asked this question a million times in the last few days” Shimizu said.

“It’s very hard to say, of course the horse has to just run to see how he handles it, but I believe in the horse and the jockey. He should be able to handle it.”

Tuesday’s race is as much a big deal for Shimizu as it is for Japanese racing as a whole. After Mer De Glace won the Caulfield Cup, Lys Gracieux backed up with a convincing win in the Cox Plate a week later.

Japan is now looking for a clean sweep of the Spring Carnival’s “Big 3” and although Shimizu said he’s feeling the pressure of his home country, he’s also very excited about the future for Japanese racing.

Japanese racing and clean sweep of the three biggest races of the Spring Carnival: “it feels like I’m carrying the Japanese flag. It is great that Japanese horses have been racing so well all over the world. Obviously, the Japanese quota is going up and improving every year and we have very good quality with thoroughbreds. I really don’t want to stop this moment for Japanese horses and hopefully we can get a good result for Japan.”

Complete 2019 Melbourne Cup odds can be viewed here courtesy of Ladbrokes.com.au.
2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup Field 

# Form (Last 10) Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight
1 12x1x1x434 CROSS COUNTER (GB) Charlie Appleby William Buick 5 57.5kg
2 211x11x1x1 MER DE GLACE (JPN) Hisashi Shimizu Damian Lane 2 56kg
3 7250×14335 MASTER OF REALITY (IRE) Joseph O’Brien Frankie Dettori 1 55.5kg
4 2x0x1322x3 MIRAGE DANCER (GB) Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young Ben Melham 13 55.5kg
5 37×3264413 SOUTHERN FRANCE (IRE) Ciaron Maher & David Eustace Mark Zahra 14 55.5kg
6 3344465881 HUNTING HORN (IRE) Aidan O’Brien Seamie Heffernan 11 55kg
7 220×344216 LATROBE (IRE) Joseph O’Brien James McDonald 22 55kg
8 4x1x723516 MUSTAJEER (GB) Kris Lees Damien Oliver 6 55kg
9 251557×790 ROSTROPOVICH (IRE) David & B Hayes & T Dabernig Dwayne Dunn 12 55kg
10 423x2411x7 TWILIGHT PAYMENT (IRE) Joseph O’Brien Hugh Bowman 19 55kg
11 x1x34x5125 FINCHE (GB) Chris Waller Kerrin McEvoy 4 54kg
12 8x49x58321 PRINCE OF ARRAN (GB) Charlie Fellowes Michael Walker 8 54kg
13 1x6x237x4x RAYMOND TUSK (IRE) Richard Hannon Jamie Spencer 3 54kg
14 x196112x31 DOWNDRAFT (IRE) Joseph O’Brien John Allen 15 53.5kg
15 2×53220224 MAGIC WAND (IRE) Aidan O’Brien Ryan Moore 24 53.5kg
16 2x30x80709 NEUFBOSC (FR) David & B Hayes & T Dabernig Luke Nolen 23 53.5kg
17 00x048x070 SOUND (GER) Michael Moroney James Winks 10 53.5kg
18 1514132×41 SURPRISE BABY (NZ) Paul Preusker Jordan Childs 20 53.5kg
19 531×212224 CONSTANTINOPLE (IRE) David & B Hayes & T Dabernig Joao Moreira 7 52.5kg
20 322×17135 IL PARADISO (USA) Aidan O’Brien Wayne Lordan 17 52.5kg
21 x11111x467 STEEL PRINCE (IRE) Anthony Freedman Brett Prebble 16 52.5kg
22 0141×59195 THE CHOSEN ONE (NZ) Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Tim Clark 18 52kg
23 1x36621x42 VOW AND DECLARE Danny O’Brien Craig Williams 21 52kg
24 x059x87873 YOUNGSTAR Chris Waller Tommy Berry 9 52kg

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