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Japanese horses arrive in Australia for Caulfield and Melbourne Cup races

Japan's Bande arriving at Werribee Racecourse

They have been a missing ingredient in Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival since 2010 but the presence of Japanese gallopers in this year’s Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) became a reality on Saturday when four horses arrived safely in Melbourne.

While some of their potential rivals were battling it out in the Group 1 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield, exciting stayers Admire Rakti and Bande landed at Melbourne’s International Airport in Tullamarine.

The pair, who were joined by travelling stablemates Admire Inazuma and Raizan respectively, were transported to the TAB International Horse Centre at Werribee on Saturday evening where they will complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

International Racehorse Transport’s (IRT) In-Flight Attendant, Tetsuhito Hirose, said both horses had coped extremely well with the flight from Tokyo, which arrived in Melbourne via Singapore.

“They travelled very well, they couldn’t have handled it any better,” Hirose said.

“In total, it was just under 20 hours' flight time, including a stopover in Singapore, and we’re very happy with them.”

Trained by Tomoyuki Umeda, Admire Rakti boasts form around Japan’s best horses, including a close-up fourth behind Gentildonna in last year’s Group 1 Japan Cup (2400m), and was allocated the 58kg top weight for the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.

Progressive four-year-old Bande, who will become trainer Yoshito Yahagi’s maiden Australian runner, was last seen winning the Listed Sapporo Nikkei Open (2600m) by five lengths.

Racing Victoria’s International Recruitment Officer, Leigh Jordon, believes both horses are capable of emulating the feats of previous Japanese visitors Delta Blues and Pop Rock, who famously battled out the finish of the 2006 Melbourne Cup.

“They were dominant in 2006 when they quinellaed the Melbourne Cup so it’s really exciting to get the Japanese back for this spring,” Jordon said.

“To get Admire Rakti and Bande here to run in both the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup is fantastic and I’m confident that, if they carry their best form here, they will be ultra-competitive.”

“Both of them will go straight into the Caulfield Cup and then onto the Melbourne Cup and we saw Delta Blues and Pop Rock do a similar thing back in 2006.”

Jordon said the quartet would have the Werribee complex to themselves until next Saturday’s arrival of the first European shipment of Spring Racing Carnival raiders.

That contingent will feature 19 horses, including popular three-time Melbourne visitor Red Cadeaux, last-start Ebor winner Mutual Regard and Roger Varian’s Caulfield Cup-bound mare Ambivalent.

“This is probably what we’d call a soft opening because we’ve got 19 more horses arriving next week so we’ll well and truly have the house full sign up,” Jordon said.

“I’m looking forward to it and I think it’s going to be a great spring.”

Others arriving on AFL Grand Final day include German duo Protecionist and Nuntius for trainer Andreas Wohler, and four Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock-owned gallopers, headed by Caulfield Cup runner-up Dandino.

(Source: Racing.com Press Release)

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