The 2014 Caulfield Cup has been won by Admire Rakti, who showed outstanding acceleration to score a narrow win from Rising Romance and a brave Lucia Valentina.
Admire Rakti jumped from the gates fairly in the early stages of the race and was settled just worse than midfield and was given the opportunity to roll into the race by jockey Zac Purton.
Purton elected to take Admire Rakti wide coming around the final turn and the Heart’s Cry entire responded extremely well when asked for an extra effort and he was able to catch Rising Romance, who receive an outstanding ride from James McDonald, on the line.
The Hong Kong-based hoop said that he always knew that Admire Rakti was the best horse in the Caulfield Cup field and he said the key to the win of the Japanese stayer was allowing to build momentum and work into the race as he would have done back home in Japan.
“You only had to look at his run in the Japan Cup to know that he was going to be hard to beat today,” Purton said.
“I was able to get a lovely run in the race, three wide with a bit of cover, and the Japanese horses love that.
“He got a nice clear run and I knew that he was better than them and it worked out that way.
“It is the way that they are trained and it is the way that the races are won over there.
“That is what they are used to and you don’t change something.”
Japanese horses have a strong record in the Caulfield Cup, with Eye Popper and Delta Blues both finishing in the placings, but Admire Rakti was a surprise drifter in betting heading into the race despite the strong form Japanese horses have shown in Australia.
There was plenty of speculation before the race that Admire Rakti would be better suited by the 3200 metres of the Melbourne Cup and trainer Tomoyuki Umeda admitted that he was confused when his stayer was allocated the top weight of 58 kilograms, but he was clearly delighted to have taken out the Caulfield Cup and confirmed that the six-year-old would press on to the ‘race that stops a nation’.
“He had a handicap of 58 kilograms and hadn’t won a big race in Japan, so I wasn’t sure what was happening, but the horse likes Australia,” Umeda said through a translator.
“Everything is going well and hopefully this luck keep going to the Melbourne Cup.
“It all depends on the owner, but the owners like it here so hopefully we will come back again next year.”
Purton was booked to ride Admire Rakti in both the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup at the start of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and Umeda said that he was very happy with ride of the leading Hong Kong-based jockey.
“He (Purton) brings everything out of the horse and that was perfect,” Umeda said.
Rising Romance looked like she had the race won at the 200 metre mark, while Lucia Valentina lost no admirers with her brave third place finish despite having no luck in running throughout the race.
The Melbourne Cup odds of Admire Rakti are set to shorten dramatically and he will have the chance to become the first horse since Ethereal in 2001 to complete the Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double.