A Japan Cup finish dominated by the home nation and where the European challenge was found wanting highlights just how much the Japanese presence is missed in the Melbourne Cup, a global racing authority says.
In a race where Melbourne Cup form counted for nothing, Gentildonna became the first three-year-old filly to win the Japan Cup on Sunday.
Europe’s Melbourne Cup runners Red Cadeaux, Jakkalberry and Mount Athos were nowhere to be seen with Japan-trained stayers taking the top seven places.
But Leigh Jordon, Racing Victoria’s international talent scout, says he doesn’t like the chances of another Japanese one-two finish in the Melbourne Cup happening in the near future.
“Obviously we know what the issues are and if there are ways to make it easier for Japanese horses to return to Australia we will try to get them back,” Jordon told AAP.
“At 2000 metres plus they are as good as any horses in the world and that’s why we want them here.
“I’m not saying they will never come again because there are ways and it’s certainly not for the lack of trying or hounding on my behalf.”
Delta Blues and Pop Rock ran the Melbourne Cup quinella in 2006 but on-going quarantine issues because of the 2007 equine influenza outbreak have since kept Japan’s representation in the race to a single runner.
Some restrictions have been eased to allow horses to spend two weeks in Tokyo and three weeks at Racing Victoria’s quarantine centre at Werribee but the Australian protocols are much tougher than anywhere else in the racing world, presenting a major stumbling block.
“They can send their horses to Dubai a week before, the same with the Breeders’ Cup and Hong Kong,” Jordon said.
“We are competing against other racing nations and we’ve got to get these barriers to entry removed.
“The feedback from trainers is that to go to Tokyo is not ideal.
“It’s more favourable for them to use the Miho Training Centre where they feel there is less disruption to their preparation but that is not available under the current regulations.”
Jordon said Racing Victoria was waiting for government action into a review of quarantine protocols.
“There was a call for submissions and Racing Victoria put in a submission along with some other industry bodies,” he said.
Jordon travels the globe annually in search of recruits for the Melbourne spring carnival and he agrees with the popular belief Japan racing is producing a superior breed of staying horse.
“They are tough horses and they get that grounding from when they are young,” he said.
“From an Australian point of view they are ideal for our conditions because they love firm tracks.”