Australian globetrotting jockey Craig Williams says that Japanese stayer Admire Rakti has the ability to win the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 4.
Williams will return to racing in Australia on Saturday at Caulfield after completing a riding stint in Japan followed by a working holiday in Europe where he captured the first race on the last day of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup jockey challenge at Ascot in England on Saturday night.
Williams rode the Robert Cowell trained Goldream to take out the £40,000 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Dash (5 furlongs).
The top Melbourne jockey was on hand to see Admire Rakti race in May and even though the six year old finished down the track in the Group 1 US$2.5m Tenno Sho Spring (3218m) at Kyoto, Williams knows he can do better at his best.
Williams has also been aboard the Tomoyuki Umeda trained stayer twice at the end of last year for a fourth to Gentildonna in the Group 1 US$5.88m Japan Cup (2400m) at Fuchu, Tokyo on November 24 then finished down the track when eleventh to Orfevre in the Group 1 US$4m Arima Kinen (Grand Prix) (2500m) at Nakayama on December 23.
“I rode Admire Rakti on two occasions in Group 1s,” Williams told RSN.
“It ran fourth in the Japan Cup and he was disappointing in the Arima Kinen but he had the excuse due to the ground.
“On his best day there’s no doubt he could win both of our major handicaps.”
Admire Rakti is nominated for the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 18 and will be among the entries for the Melbourne Cup when they close on September 2.
Admire Rakti was back to near his best with a second to Gold Ship in the Group 2 US$1m Hanshin Daishoten Stakes (3000m) at Hanshin then was well beaten when thirteenth to Fenomeno in the Tenno Sho.
Japanese trained horses quinelled the 2006 Melbourne Cup with Delta Blues beating Pop Rock in a close finish that entrenched the international flavour for the ‘race that stops the nation’.
As well as Admire Rakti, Japan will also be represented in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups by Admire Flight, also owned by Riichi Kondo and Bande who has also been confirmed as a Melbourne Spring Carnival visitor.
In early Caulfield Cup betting with Ladbrokes.com.au Bande is the best of the Japanese horses at $17 with Admire Rakti at $26 and Admire Flight at $34.
While in the Melbourne Cup market order Admire Rakti is well in contention at $21.