Japanese en route to Melbourne

Racing Victoria and Victoria Racing Club officials are rejoicing after AQIS gave official approval to two Japanese quarantine facilities, effectively allowing Japanese horses to compete in this year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup.

As reported by Just Horse Racing last Thursday, an inspection occurred last Wednesday. Click here to read more.

The approval of the sites at Tokyo and Nakayama means that two Japanese horses, Jaguar Mail and Meiner Kitz, are expected to compete in the Melbourne Cup.

A third, the Australian-bred colt Break A Theory, may become the first international runner in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).

In 2007, New Zealand-bred Japanese galloper Roc De Cambes was on track to run in the Victoria Derby.

However, the outbreak of equine influenza in both Japan and Australia prevented him making the trip.

Restrictions set up in the wake of EI have stopped further Japanese visits since then, and it was believed that it wouldn’t be rectified in time for the 2010 Melbourne Cup.

Four Japanese gallopers have raced in Australia:

  • Eye Popper – ran 2nd to Railings in the 2005 Caulfield Cup before finishing 12th to Makybe Diva in that year’s Melbourne Cup.
  • Tosen Dandy – had four starts in Australia, including a 2nd in the Cranbourne Cup and 11th in the 2005 Cox Plate behind Makybe Diva
  • Delta Blues – finished a gutsy 3rd in the 2006 Caulfield Cup behind Tawqeet before his famous victory in the Melbourne Cup
  • Pop Rock – a fast finishing 7th at Caulfield behind Tawqeet before running 2nd to his stablemate in the Melbourne Cup to record a Japanese quinella

This year’s field is likely to be stronger than the field in 2006, but Jaguar Mail’s credentials are far superior to his predecessors.

Proven at weight for age on the world stage, with two top four runs in the Hong Kong Vase behind Doctor Dino and Daryakana, Jaguar Mail ran away with Japan’s premier 3200m race, the Tenno Sho (Spring), in May.

In doing so, he ran a scintillating time of 3:15.7 – a time that has never been achieved in a Melbourne Cup.

The current record-holder is Kingston Rule, who won his Melbourne Cup in 1990 in a time of 3:16.3.

See his win in this year’s race below:

Meiner Kitz was second to Jaguar Mail this year, after winning the Tenno Sho (Spring) last year.

While his form is not as highly regarded, he is still a phenomenal stayer on his day.

His time in the Tenno Sho (Spring) last year was a mind blowing 3:14.40 – unthinkable in Melbourne.

While there are many factors to consider – most importantly, pace, but also the geography of the racecourse – Meiner Kitz’s 2009 victory in the Tenno Sho was a whole 6 seconds, or almost 35 lengths, quicker than Viewed’s Melbourne Cup win in 2008.

See his win in 2009 below:

It is now expected that Jaguar Mail will be challenging for favouritism, with Meiner Kitz not far behind, when the first TAB Sportsbet market for the Melbourne Cup is released next Thursday.

Written by Andrew Hawkins

29 Jul 2010

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