Talented Japanese stayer Mer De Glace lived up to the hype on Saturday as yet another international claimed the time-honoured Caulfield Cup (2400m).
In his Australian debut, the Hisashi Shimizu-trained five-year-old had the run of the race down the middle of the track before shifting into sixth gear at the turn. With race-favourite Finche leading the way, jockey Damian Lane had very little work to do as Mer De Glace’s turn of foot made it look easy.
Saturday marked the 143rd running of the Caulfield Cup and just the sixth time an international horse has claimed the prizemoney. The win was Lane’s first-ever Cup victory as the champion jockey added yet another trophy to his mantlepiece.
“He’s not much to look at but he’s just a tradesman, he just keeps turning up and winning. Not many horses win five on the bounce in Japan because they are all weight-for-age races, so they got up steep every time” Lane said when asked on Mer De Glace’s run.
Godolphin trainer Saeed Bin Suroor achieved success last year with Irish international Best Solution. With $3 million on offer for the outright winner, the race continues to attract some of the best stayers around the world.
Lane has plenty of time to enjoy Saturday’s win before he saddles fellow Japanese stayer Lys Gracieux in next weekend’s Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley. The Yoshito Yahagi-trained six-year-old is the favourite in the market with two Group 1 wins to his name and looks extremely tough to beat.
As for Mer De Glace, Saturday’s win was made extra special after Lane rode the horse to a pair of Group 3 wins during his most recent stint in Japan.
Lane went on to say that he convinced owners to ship the horse to Australia before thanking them for making the right decision.
“I sort of planted the seed after the second time I won on him. Connections were really happy to come because it looked like he was going to get 53kg and then he won again, and it was questionable because he was going to go up to 55kg. I just begged them to come because I knew 55kg was still a winnable weight, so I’m just forever grateful that they brought him out here” Lane said.
Punters who backed Mer De Glace at the $8.00 price came away happy on Saturday, but the same can’t be said for those on $6.50 favourite Constantinople. The Irish raider ran out of steam down the straight to run fourth, while Finche, who spent time as the favourite earlier in the week, put forward a brave effort for fifth.
Of the 18 Caulfield Cup runners on Saturday, the following all hold a nomination in next fortnight’s Melbourne Cup and have since firmed in Ladbrokes’ All-In market.
- Mer De Glace ($51.00 – $21.00)
- Vow and Declare ($17.00 into $10.00)
- Mustajeer ($21.00 into $14.00)
- Mirage Dancer ($51.00 into $21.00)
- Constantinople ($12.00 into $8.00)
Vow and Declare finished strongly for second while Mustajeer wasn’t disgraced running sixth. Mirage Dancer was also a late eye-catcher in third with Ben Melham in the saddle.
Ladbrokes’ Full Melbourne Cup market can be viewed here.