High class Melbourne jockey Craig Williams kicked off Caulfield Cup Day in fine style, winning the first race on the program, the $100,000 Yellowglen Plate (1400m) on Andrioli at Caulfield today.
Williams will be on Hokko Brave in the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) and the Japanese stayer is rated a $17 chance in markets with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Hokko Brave is a proven stayer and comes to Australia with two wins over the Caulfield Cup distance of 2400m and one over 2600m.
While the Yasutoshi Matsunaga trained eight year old hasn’t won since October 2013, his most recent form in Japan puts him into contention for today’s Spring Carnival feature staying race .
Hokko Brave was beaten two lengths two starts back when third in the Group 2 Nikkei Sho over 2500m at Nakayama in March and then at hs lastest run was beaten less than two lengths when sixth in the Group 1 US$2.5m Tenno Sho Spring (3200m) at Kyoto in early May.
While racing analyst believe that Hokko Brave will be better suited at Flemington in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) in just over two weeks times, Matsunaga said that the tough stayer will be in to win the Caulfield Cup if he can and claim the trophy for Japan again as did Admire Rakti last year.
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“Last year Admire Rakti ran very well… I believe the Caulfield Cup isn’t just a step [towards] the Melbourne Cup. I really think that this is a big international race too,” Matsunaga said through a translator.
“I believe we need greater distance… [but] I’m not just going for the Melbourne Cup, I’ll try to win both Cups. I believe he is perfect fitness.”
Caulfield Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.80 Mongolian Khan, $8.50 Snow Sky, $9 Set Square, $9.50 Hauraki, $10 Rising Romance, Fame Game, $17 Hokko Brave, $18 Gust Of Wind, $19 Royal Descent, $21 Our Ivanhowe, $26 Who Shot Thebarman, Volkstok’N’Barrell, $34 Trip To Paris, Lucia Valentina, $51 Grand Marshall, Protectionist, Magnapal, $151 Magicool.