Craig Williams has had a firsthand view of the two Japanese runners in the 2014 Caulfield Cup field and the leading hoop believes that both deserve their status as leading chances in the Group 1 event at Caulfield this weekend.
Williams has had two riding stints in Japan in the past two years and he rode Admire Rakti when he finished a credible fourth behind star mare Gentildonna in the Group 1 Japan Cup (2413m) in Tokyo last year, so his opinion on the two stayers has been highly sought after by rival connections as well as punters.
The Group 1 winning hoop said at the 2014 Caulfield Cup barrier draw yesterday that the success of Japanese stayers when they race anywhere in the world is a testament to the equine talent in the land of the rising sun and he believes Admire Rakti is capable of carrying the top weight of 58 kilograms to victory in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
“We have seen them out here when they quinelled the Melbourne Cup and you can look up their record when they go to Dubai or France and Europe,” Williams said yesterday.
“When they travel you always have to respect them because they are tough competitors.
“Admire Rakti ran fourth in last year’s Japan Cup and I also rode him in the Arima Kinen.
“He has competed in Japan’s biggest races and has been very competitive behind Gentildonna last year.
“If he brings his a-grade form he is definitely one of the horses that can win.”
Williams, who will ride Dandino in the 2014 Caulfield Cup, did not have the opportunity to see Bande in person during his stint in Japan, but said that he was extremely impressed with the way that the Authorized entire performed in the Listed Sapporo Nikkei (2600m) on August 10 and believes that the progressive entire has improved substantially in the last 12 months.
“He had a five month rest and you could see that he came back at Sapporo,” Williams said.
“It was only a Listed race, but the way that he won that race was very impressive and he looks like he is carrying a lot more weight and has matured since I saw him in their spring.”
Bande and Admire Rakti have been two of the best-backed runners in 2014 Caulfield Cup betting markets and are available at odds of $8 and $10 respectively to give Japan their first ever win in the Caulfield Cup.