Michiaki Yabe is in Melbourne hoping to realise his late father’s dream with Hokko Brave this spring.
The horse’s owner visited the Werribee quarantine centre to see his horse on the eve of the Japanese galloper’s Australian debut in Saturday’s $3 million Caulfield Cup (2400m).
He said his father Koichi Yabe formed a dream of winning the Melbourne Cup with a horse of his own after watching the race when French horse Americain won.
“The Melbourne Cup is very special for my family because my dad came over five years ago at the Melbourne Cup and he joined that carnival event and it was a really impressive event,” Michiaki Yabe, speaking through interpreter Hiroshi Ando, said.
“At that time my dad thinks the Melbourne Cup is a dream.
“Now my dad is passed away but his horse is running in the Melbourne Cup and also the Caulfield Cup. That is very, very special for us.”
Hokko Brave hasn’t started since his sixth in the Grade One Tenno Sho – Spring (3200m) in early May, with the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups his focus since.
Hokko Brave will try to emulate the feat of Japanese horse Admire Rakti last year.
“Last year the Japanese horse ran very well in the Caulfield Cup. Admire Rakti won last year,” Yabe said.
“So I believe the Caulfield Cup is just not a step race to the Melbourne Cup. I really think this is one of the big international races too.
“Yes I believe (he can win) because all the staff and the trainer have the horse in really good condition. So I really have the opportunity.”
Hokko Brave will have a wide barrier to contend with which two-time Caulfield Cup winning jockey Craig Williams lamented after Tuesday’s draw.
But trainer Yasutoshi Matsunaga likes the draw because he doesn’t want the horse cluttered up on the inside.
Hokko Brave’s most recent win was over 2400m two years ago in Japan, and while the trainer says he believed the horse needs more ground than the Caulfield Cup distance, he is striving to win both Cups.
“I’m not saying the Melbourne Cup is the only goal. I’m trying to win both Cups,” Matsunaga said.
His expectations for Saturday are simple.
“I want to try to win.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au