Japanese stayer Lelouch, who will take part in the Group 1 Japan Cup (2400m) in Tokyo tomorrow, is a chance to come to Australia for the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival.
Quarantine restrictions have meant that there has only been one Japanese horse come to Australia since Delta Blues and Pop Rock quinelled the 2006 Melbourne Cup but Racing Victoria international scout Leigh Jordon has revealed that he is in negotiations with the connections of Group 2 winner Lelouch.
Lelouch won the Group 2 Copa Republica Argentina (2514m) in Tokyo at the end of last year and has raced competitively at the highest level of racing in Japan over the last twelve months; finishing second in the Group 2 Meguro Kinen (22514m) when he was ridden by leading Australian jockey Craig Williams.
Jordon told Racing Victoria that negotiations are still ongoing with the connections of Lelouch but confirmed that the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m), Group 1 The BMW (2400m) and Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) are all on the agenda for the son of Zenno Rob Roy.
“There’s still water to flow under the bridge, but the connections have expressed a genuine desire to come to Australia in the autumn and it would be a great outcome for Victorian and New South Wales racing if we can make it a reality,” Jordon said.
“As we have seen with our Spring Racing Carnival recruitment since the EI outbreak of 2007, there are significant challenges in bringing Japanese horses to Australia with the preferred quarantine facility in Miho not currently sanctioned and direct shipping costly and difficult to arrange.
“I’m working with Japanese officials and IRT to find a suitable solution for all parties as it remains a priority for Racing Victoria to reignite Japanese participation in our premier races and if that can benefit New South Wales too then it’s a real positive for Australian racing.”
Tokai Trick, who finished twelfth behind Americain in the 2010 Melbourne Cup, is the only Japanese-trained horse that has come to Australia since the outbreak of equine influenza and the tightening of quarantine restrictions in 2007.
Admire Ratki, who will be ridden by Craig Williams in the Japan Cup this weekend, was a chance to come to Australia for the 2013 Melbourne Cup earlier this month but connections elected to keep the Heart’s Cry entire in Japan.