The dream of Craig Williams is to win a Melbourne Cup and this year he’s taking a big gamble by travelling to Japan in the hopes of finding a winner.
It’s a long way to go with no guarantees any of the trainers are even contemplating the Melbourne assignment but Williams is confident on returning with a Cup contender.
“It’s tough with the language barrier, but the racing is great and hopefully I can find a horse going towards the Melbourne Cup,” Williams said.
He will have a two-month stint in Japan riding for famous owner Katsumi Yoshida, the man who had the historic Japanese quinella in the 2006 Melbourne Cup with Delta Blues and Pop Rock.
It’s a trip Williams is familiar with having travelled to Japan last year and he was agonisingly close to getting a Cup runner on that occasion.
After winning the 2010 Group 1 Tenno Sho on Jaguar Mail, the horse was on route to the Melbourne Cup but had to be withdrawn due to quarantine issues.
His first ride of this stint will be on April 30 in the Group 2 Japan Derby when he’ll be aboard Tosen Reve, the younger brother to Buena Vista a five time Group 1 winner and 2010 Japanese horse of the year.
The very next day he’ll defend his Group 1 Tenno Sho title at Kyoto with Jamil.
The majority of his rides will be for top 10 ranked trainer Yasutoshi Ikee who has trained for the top rung of owners including Sheihk Hamdan.
His last Australian rides will be on Anzac Day at Flemington and he’s not expected to be back riding in Australia until he returns to Melbourne towards the end of July.