Connections of exciting Japanese stayer Bande have confirmed November’s $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) will be the main aim for the five-year-old this preparation.
Bande was a dominant five length winner of Sunday’s Listed Sapporo Nikkei Open (2600m), five days after connections flagged a trip to Melbourne by nominating the galloper for the $3 million Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Racing Victoria’s International Recruitment Officer, Leigh Jordon, has been in contact with a representative from trainer Yoshito Yahagi’s stable today who confirmed the horse would definitely travel to Melbourne.
“Keita Tanaka, who is the Racing Manager for Yoshito Yahagi, confirmed to me today that Bande is coming to Melbourne for the Spring Racing Carnival,” Jordon said.
“The Melbourne Cup will be the primary target for Bande and at this stage both the Caulfield Cup and Geelong Cup remain on the table as potential lead-up runs.
A winner of five of his 12 career starts, Bande was placed behind Epiphaneia in last year’s Group 1 Kikuka Sho (3000m) and was third behind star galloper Gold Ship in the Group 2 Hanshin Daishotin (3000m) in March.
Jordon, who met with Yahagi when he visited Japan in May, noted 2006 Melbourne Cup hero Delta Blues had also finished third in the Hanshin Daishotin prior to his successful Melbourne trip and is confident Bande boasts form lines that will measure up in Melbourne.
“The horse couldn’t have been more impressive winning at Sapporo on the weekend and his form in Stakes races behind the likes of Epiphaneia and Gold Ship is strong,” Jordon said.
“We’ve seen how Japanese-trained horses have performed in Melbourne previously so the prospect of a return in 2014 is extremely exciting.”
Japanese stayers Admire Rakti and Admire Flight are also in the Cups mix and are expected to feature alongside Bande in the Melbourne Cup nominations when they are released on 2 September.
Story by James Tzaferis