Connections of Japanese stayer Admire Rakti have made the decision not to come to Australia for the 2013 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Japanese horses took the Melbourne Cup by storm in 2006 when Delta Blues and Pop Rock quinelled the race and many racing experts predicted after that victory that the Japanese would dominate the race for the next decade, but that has not been the case due to equine influenza and quarantine restrictions.
Admire Rakti was confirmed as a visitor to Australia for the Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Melbourne Cup in May but Racing Victoria International Recruitment Officer Leigh Jordon told Sky Racing HQ this morning that the talented five-year-old would no longer be taking part in either race.
“The owner of Admire Ratki has now decided not to come down which it a bit unfortunate,” Jordon said on Sky Racing Radio.
“We have struggled with the Japanese since they quinelled the race back in 2006.
“We had equine influenza for a few years that knocked them out and since they have been able to come back we have really only had Tokai Trick (who finished 12th behind Americain in the 2010 edition of the Melbourne Cup) come and participate.
“It is a work in progress that one and I am hoping that we can get some quarantine easing in the next couple of years and get them back.”
Although the Melbourne Cup will once again lack a Japanese presence, the race will still have a heavy international flavour and a number of potential European visitors are set to compete this weekend.
The Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3299m) at York on Friday could be a key lead-up race with Melbourne Cup hopefuls Ahzeemah, Mount Athos, Royal Diamond, Simenon and Pale Mimosa set to take part.
Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos is confirmed to return to Australia for the second time, after finishing fifth behind Green Moon in last year’s edition of the Melbourne Cup, while the trainers of both Simenon (Willie Mullins) and Royal Diamond (Johnny Murtagh) have expressed their desire to come to Australia for ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Leading Irish trainer Dermot Weld has been a regular visitor to Australia for the Melbourne Cup, winning the race with Vintage Crop in 1993 and Media Puzzle in 2002, and Pale Mimosa looks his best chance to have a runner in the race this year while Godolphin earmarked consistent stayer Ahzeemah as a potential Melbourne Cup runner at the start of the year.
The first group of international horses for the major 2013 Spring Racing Carnival events will arrive at the TAB Werribee International Horse Centre on Saturday September 28th and Jordan believes there will be no problems with the controversial track.
“This will be the fourth year that we have had quarantine at Werribee and we have never had an issue,” Jordon said.
“It has performed very well for us over the years.”