Japan may make a return

It appears likely that two Japanese representatives may be seen in Melbourne this spring, with Japanese facilities in the process of being examined by quarantine officials.

It was thought that it may be too late for Japanese horses, but with Japan’s designated quarantine facilities - Miho, Tokyo and Nakayama - examined by officials from the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) in the last 24 hours, the door is still open.

The last two winners of Japan’s premier 3200m race, Jaguar Mail and Meiner Kitz, are on standby awaiting quarantine approval.

Jaguar Mail is an exciting prospect.

His dominant victory in the Tenno Sho in May saw him run a time of 3:15.7 for the 3200m journey.

The race record for the Melbourne Cup is 3:16.3, run by Kingston Rule in 1990. The only Melbourne Cup since to get close to that time was in 2002, when Media Puzzle ran 3:16.9.

He has also run respectable races on the international stage, finishing 3rd and 4th in the last two runnings of the Hong Kong Vase.

Melbourne jockey Craig Williams, who rode the Jungle Pocket entire to victory in the Tenno Sho, has been promised the ride if he makes it to the Cup.

Meiner Kitz ran 2nd to Jaguar Mail in this year’s Tenno Sho after winning in 2009.

He started at long odds last year, but proved it was no fluke with his gutsy run this year.

Japanese horses have not raced in the Melbourne Cup since Delta Blues and Pop Rock ran the quinella in 2006.

The only other Japanese entrant to have raced in the Melbourne Cup was Eye Popper, who finished 12th to Makybe Diva in 2005.


Written by Andrew Hawkins

22 Jul 2010

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