Leading Melbourne jockey Craig Williams is set to ride Japanese stayer Hokko Brave in the 2015 Caulfield Cup and 2015 Melbourne Cup.
Williams has spent plenty of time riding in Japan throughout his career and connections of Hokko Brave wasted no time securing the talented hoop for both the feature staying events during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
Hokko Brave has similar form lines to last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Admire Rakti and Williams told Racing.com that the Marvelous Sunday entire will be competitive in both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17 and the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3.
“It’s very exciting to have been confirmed as the rider for Hokko Brave,” Williams said.
“His Tenno Sho performance gives me great confidence in the horse’s ability over two miles.
“He’s adaptable on all surfaces and looking at his form it shows that he has won over 2400m and should be a force to be reckoned in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.”
Hokko Brave made his racing debut back in 2010, but in the past two years he has stamped himself as a stayer that can be competitive at the highest level of racing.
The seven-year-old made his debut at Group level with a fifth place finish in the 2013 edition of the Group 2 The Copa Republica Argentina (2500m) in Tokyo and he finished 12th behind Gentildonna in the Group 1 Japan Cup (2400m).
Hokko Brave was denied a maiden win at Group level by Win Variation in the Group 2 The Nikkei Sho (2500m) at Nakayama on March 29 and he was a close third in the Group 1 Tenno Sho (3200m) before he was outclassed in the Group 1 The Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) at Hanshin on June 29.
He made a slow start to his summer campaign, but he finished a credible fifth in the Group 2 Nippon Sho Stayers Stakes (3600m) at Nakayama on December 6 and he was competitive in both the Group 2 Nikkei Sho (2500m) at the same venue on March 28 and the Group 1 Tenno Sho (3200m).
Hokko Brave is currently available at 2015 Melbourne Cup odds of $26 with Ladbrokes, while fellow Japanese stayer Fame Game ($11) remains a clear favourite from Godolphin-owned Hartnell ($17), Australian Derby winner Mongolian Khan ($17), two-time Group 1 winner Contributer ($21), last year’s winner Protectionist ($21), English stayer Snow Sky ($21) and Ascot Gold Cup winner Trip To Paris ($21).