Racing Victoria International Recruitment Officer Leigh Jordon has confirmed that Japanese stayers Hokko Brave and Fame Game are both set to make the trip to Australia for the 2015 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 3.
The connections of Hokko Brave including trainer Yasutoshi Matsunaga visited Melbourne last weekend to have a look at the facilities on offer ahead of the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and Jordon told Racing Ahead that the Marvelous Sunday entire was now almost certain to contest both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
“The trainer of Hokko Brave and the Racing Manager came down on the weekend to do a bit of a reconnaissance mission,” Jordon said.
“They were pretty happy with what they saw and he is pretty firm to come.”
Hokko Brave finished third behind Fenomeno and Win Variation in the Group 1 Tenno Sho (3200m) in Kyoto in May of last year and he has performed well without winning in the past two editions of the Group 2 Nikkei Sho (2500m) at Nakayama.
The other Japanese stayer that is set to contest the 2015 Melbourne Cup is the highly-talented Fame Game, who has form around some of the best horses in Japan.
Fame Game has won the past two edition of The Diamond Stakes (3400m) – that was won by subsequent Caulfield Cup winner Admire Rakti in 2013 – and he stamped himself as one of the most promising stayers in Japan when he finished a close second behind the highly-rated Gold Ship in the Group 1 Tenno Sho (3200m) at Kyoto on May 3.
“The other horse from Japan that is very firm to come is Fame Game,” Jordon said.
“We saw him run second in the Tenno Sho behind Gold Ship in what was a very good one and he is a multiple Group 3 winner of the Diamond Stakes.
“I think Fame Game and Hokkai Brave are pretty certain to come down and they will definitely be a formable team up against the Europeans and the Australians.
“We look forward to them coming.”
Japanese stayers have proven difficult to beat in staying races during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival after Delta Blues claimed the 2006 Melbourne Cup from stablemate Pop Rock and Admire Rakti stormed home late to win the Caulfield Cup last year.
Fame Game is currently available at 2015 Melbourne Cup odds of $13 with Ladbrokes, while Hokko Brave is priced at $34 to deliver Japan their second ever win in ‘the race that stops a nation’.