Leading European jockey Christophe Lemaire has been booked to ride Bande in the 2014 Melbourne Cup and he believes that the Japanese stayer has the right profile to win the Group 1 event at Flemington on November 4.
Lemaire steered Dunaden to victory in the 2011 Melbourne Cup, his first ride in ‘the race that stops a nation’, but he was onboard French mare Verema when she broke down and was put down in the Melbourne Cup last year.
The talented hoop told Sky Racing HQ this morning that he was hoping to have a more positive experience when he rides Bande in the Melbourne Cup this year and he believes that the progressive galloper is a genuine winning chance in the feature event of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
“They are very strong and very tough horses,” Lemaire said of Japanese stayers.
“You can remember the last time the Japanese came for the Melbourne Cup they finished one, two in the race, so when they go over there they go with very high quality horses.
“Bande has the right profile for Caulfield and Melbourne Cup.
“He is a horse that likes to go in a good position and he stays very well.
“He was beaten by very top class horses in Japan and maybe he is just a level below the true Group 1 horses in Japan, but for me he has enough class to do well in the Melbourne Cup and in the Caulfield Cup.
“I have great expectations with this horse.”
Bande is yet to record victory at the highest level of racing, but he performed well in races like the 2013 Japan St Leger (3000m) and 2014 Hansch Daishoten (3000m) and he scored a most impressive front-running victory in the Sapporo Nikkei (2600m) in Sapporo on August 10.
Lemaire has not partnered Bande in a race start, but he said that the son of Authorized is at his best when allowed to take up the running in front and revealed that he will be happy to lead on the five-year-old in the Melbourne Cup, who was allocated 56.5 kilograms when the Melbourne Cup weights were released earlier this week.
“He likes to be in the front position and he likes to quicken the race very early,” Lemaire said.
“He is very strong, very tough and I know it is not easy to do all the way round from start to finish to win the Melbourne Cup, but these kind of horses they like to run like this and they are strong enough to go from start to finish.
“I think that he has a good chance.
“I think that he has been given a good weight, he will carry 54 and a half in the Caulfield, and maybe 56 and a half in the Melbourne Cup, so the weight will not be a problem for him and he likes good ground.”
Bande is currently on the second line of the 2014 Melbourne Cup betting market with Ladbrokes Australia and is available at Melbourne Cup odds of $15.