The Spring is officially in the air with the group one Makybe Stakes meeting at Flemington on Saturday.
The early Caulfield Cup favourite, Japanese stayer Admire Deus, has suffered a life-threatening injury and will miss both the Caulfield and the Melbourne Cup – and faces a fight for his life.
It’s a disastrous turn of events for the imported horse, owners Australian Bloodstock – coming off a weekend to remember – trainer Darren Weir and staff who had been with him before he touched down. Jockey Craig Williams, who rode him while on holiday in Japan, also finds his plans awry.
The lightly raced stayer had been thriving down here according to reports, and the injury isn’t a good one, tearing all ligaments in his pastern joint in his back leg.
“It was pretty gut-wrenching and me and my staff were pretty emotional,” Weir told media.
“The staff become pretty attached to these horses. One of them has lived with the horse for almost 24 hours a day in the last few weeks.
“It was very upsetting for all involved.
“It is a very unusual injury, when I got to the vet he said he hadn’t seen one of these in a few years.
“The next 72 hours are very important for the horse.”
Devastated for Admire Deus,Matt Scown, Shiny @shiny_7592, Craig Williams, Darren Weir and all connections.
— Jamie Lovett (@Austbloodstock) October 16, 2017
Admire Deus was out before the final field of 17 was released, and his outing caused a shift in the markets. Johannes Vermeer, who flashed home first-up last week in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), is the new favourite ahead of top-weight Humidor.
There are ten individual Group 1 winners in the field, and Marmelo is the Prix Kergorlay winner as well for Europe form. But the last time the race had fewer than 18 acceptors was in 1970, and a few are making up the numbers here you’d think.
We’ll have more on the Caulfield Cup, including a full runner-by-runner preview, throughout the week. Watch out for meaningful rain – Caulfield looks set for a decent drop of 15 to 25mm on Thursday, which wouldn’t dramatically shake things up, but would suit the likes of Jon Snow.
Winx and the land of the Rising Sun?
From the sad note of a Japanese import, to an interesting one of a potential Australian raid on the Japan Cup.
Winx was nominated for the Group 1 Japan Cup (2400m) on November 26, an exciting prospect but, as Chris Waller said, “It is highly unlikely she would travel but we’ve nominated as a precaution.”
The word “precaution” would usually be something like if the Cox Plate was missed through a small mishap. But Winx will be eligible for an $2.5 million prize money bonus via a system in the 2400m race if she were to win her third Cox Plate, in addition to the $3.5 million prize.
Take this as wishful thinking, but could that precaution actually mean good practice? If she were to win the Cox Plate, you’d at least want her nominated where she could take home a few million more.
If she pulls up fresh as a daisy, maybe it’d be an option? Even if she’s never raced beyond 2040m, Hugh Bowman will already be in Japan riding through prior commitments, so maybe, just maybe, some ducks are in a row?
We won’t know until after the Cox Plate at this stage, and for now, the focus is there. Equine quarantine is relatively short in Japan, only requiring seven days from landing to the racecourse, although returning to Australia will take additional time.
As for the great race itself, 13 Australian-trained horses have raced in the Japan Cup. Fields Of Omagh was the last Australian in the race, back in 2003, finishing 18th. Better Loosen Up has been the only local winner of the race, back in 1990, in a thrilling three-way go.