After seven years of being deprived of some of the world’s finest stayers, Racing Victoria officials are confident that this year’s Caulfield and Melbourne cups will again have Japanese representation.
Following key talks with Japanese officials and RVL’s international scout Leigh Jordon, the chances of possibly two starters from the world’s most progressive racing nation appear strong.
And five-year-old stayer Admire Rakti, who finished fourth in the group 1 Tenno Sho recently, could be the horse to revive memories of Japan’s Delta Blues and Pop Rock’s breathtaking tussle in the 2006 Melbourne Cup.
Admire Rakti, owned by businessman Richii Kondo, told Jordon recently that his five year-old was ”having the perfect Australian” lead-up to this year’s spring carnival.
”He was very upbeat about coming to Australia,” Jordon said. ”He wanted to know what a trip to Australia involved, and was very pleased at what we had to offer and what our racing had to offer.
”He has been a long-time owner in Japan and seemed genuinely excited by the challenge of coming to Australia.”
Admire Rakti will start in the group 2 Meguro Kinen over 2500 metres on Sunday week, the same race Pop Rock won before coming to Australia and finishing such a valiant second behind Delta Blues.
A forward showing in the Meguro Kinen could see Admire Rakti go into quarantine.
”We had some very encouraging talks in Japan about their horses coming out for our two main cups in the spring,” Jordon said. ”I think we have had just one runner from Japan in nearly eight years but we know the vast resources and depth of distance racehorses they have over there.
”We still want to build our major races in the spring with horses from across the world. They seem interested again in making the trip. We seem to have got over any quarantine problems.”
■ Two Victorian trainers charged over positive swabs will front Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board hearings in the coming weeks.
Darren Weir was charged by stewards after Doing Our Best tested positive to a banned substance after winning at Ballarat in February.
Doing Our Best’s sample contained traces of a diuretic.
Peter Gelagotis was charged after three-year-old Hvasstan returned a positive swab to Ibuprofen after his Alister Clark Stakes win in March.