The 2014 Melbourne Cup barrier draw on Saturday evening could not have gone better for connections of Admire Rakti.
The Japanese stayer will jump from barrier eight, which is considered very lucky in China. It would seem Japan also favours the number, as trainer Tomoyuki Umeda was pleased with the draw.
“I am very pleased,” Umeda said through an interpreter to Sky Racing.
“Number eight is lucky. It is a good barrier for him and the same as he drew in the Caulfield Cup.
“It’s not like Caulfield, we have a long straight after the start, so we didn’t think much about the barrier but we wanted to have the middle.”
While Admire Rakti initially drew barrier eight in the 2014 Caulfield Cup, he started one in from gate seven after scratchings.
Despite carrying the topweight of 58kg, five kilograms more than his rivals at the post, in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) the stayer flashed late to grab Lucia Valentina on the line in a great win.
Admire Rakti must once again carry the topweight after he was penalised half a kilogram for the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m). While it was expected, Umeda remains concerned about the 58.5kg weight, which is up to seven kilograms more than his 23 rivals.
“I have a little concern with the weight at the distance, but he’s a staying horse and should be good at the distance,” the trainer said.
The horse has had plenty of experience over the two mile back in Japan, though he typically performed better at a lower weight.
He won the Group 3 Diamond Stakes (3419m) and finished second in the Group 2 Hanshin Daishoten Stakes (3016m) at 56kg while he missed out on a placing in the Group 1 Tenno Sho (3218m) twice when carrying 58kg.
Punters aren’t shying away from the Japanese stayer however, who has retained $5 favouritism in the Ladbrokes.com.au Melbourne Cup betting after he drew well for the ‘race that stops the nation’.
Admire Rakti will strive to become the 12th horse to complete the Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double on Tuesday, which was last completed by Delta Blues in 2006.