The 2014 Melbourne Cup looks set to have up to three Japanese runners after connections stayer Bande confirmed that the Japanese stayer would make the trip to Australia for the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Bande was included in the nominations for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) that were released last week and Racing Victoria’s International Recruitment Officer Leigh Jordon revealed last night that connections of the Authorized entire had guaranteed that they would bring the promising galloper to Victoria for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 4 and potentially the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18 or the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 22.
“Keita Tanaka, who is the Racing Manager for Yoshito Yahagi, confirmed to me today that Bande is coming to Melbourne for the Spring Racing Carnival,” Jordon told Racing Victoria.
“The Melbourne Cup will be the primary target for Bande and at this stage both the Caulfield Cup and Geelong Cup remain on the table as potential lead-up runs.”
Bande made his racing debut in the Group 2 Hai Aoba Sho at Tokyo in April last year and was far from disgraced against a strong field when sixth in the Group 2 St Lite Kinen at Nakayama in September.
The four-year-old made his Group 1 debut in the Kikuka Sho, the Japanese version of the St. Leger and finished third behind Epiphaneia and Satono Noblesse in October last year before he returned to racing with another placing behind Gold Ship and Admire Rakti in the Grade 2 Hanshin Daishoten Stakes in March.
Bande broke through for his maiden race win in the Sapporo Nikkei Open (2600m) in Japan on the weekend and it was after this impressive performance that connections confirmed that he would contest the 2014 Melbourne Cup.
Jordon said that the form around Bande in Japan is very strong and he believes that the stayer has similar Japanese form lines to Delta Blues, who beat fellow Japanese stayer Pop Rock to win the 2006 edition of the Melbourne Cup.
“The horse couldn’t have been more impressive winning at Sapporo on the weekend and his form in Stakes races behind the likes of Epiphaneia and Gold Ship is strong,” Jordon said.
“We’ve seen how Japanese-trained horses have performed in Melbourne previously so the prospect of a return in 2014 is extremely exciting.”
Bande is expected to be joined in the 2014 Melbourne Cup field by Admire Rakti and Admire Flight and the trio will be the first Japanese-trained horses to contest the Melbourne Cup since Tokai Trick behind Americain in the 2010 edition of the race.