Racing: Little Japanese interest in chasing Melbourne Cup

A Melbourne Cup pin on Melbourne Cup Day. Photo / Getty Images
A Melbourne Cup pin on Melbourne Cup Day. Photo / Getty Images

Japanese stayers are the best in the world but won't be heading to the Melbourne Cup any time soon.

Racing Victoria handicapper Greg Carpenter and international scout Leigh Jordon agree the Japanese horses are the missing link in a truly international Cup.

But too many difficulties will continue to prevent them competing in Australia's greatest race.

English Melbourne Cup runners Red Cadeaux, Jakkalberry and Mount Athos were nowhere to be seen in Sunday's 2400m Japan Cup, as Japan-trained horses filled the top seven places in Tokyo.

Trainer Lee Freedman will tell you the main reason for that was the concrete tracks in Japan - so hard even triple Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva could finish no better than seventh in her two races there.

Nonetheless, the Japanese domination exposes the major hole in the Melbourne Cup since Delta Blues and Pop Rock ran the quinella in 2006.

Carpenter and Jordon said they didn't like the chances of Japanese horses racing in the Melbourne Cup in the near future.

"Japan now sponsors only group one horses to campaign overseas, and obviously a group one winner will get a fair bit of weight in the Melbourne Cup," Carpenter told the Herald Sun. "So that limits those who are prepared to come."

Jordon said quarantine issues because of the 2007 equine influenza outbreak had kept Japan's representation to one runner since - Tokai Trick in 2010.

Restrictions have been eased to allow horses to spend two weeks in Tokyo and three weeks at Werribee, but the Australian protocols are the toughest in the world.

"They can send their horses to Dubai a week before, the same with the Breeders' Cup [in the United States] and to Hong Kong," Jordon said. '

Jordon said Racing Victoria was waiting for government action on a review of quarantine protocols.


- AAP

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