Japanese raider Meiner Wunsch (pic by ©Yuki Shimono)

Japanese raider Meiner Wunsch will arrive in Melbourne on August 24 (pic by Yuki Shimono)

Japanese stayers set to touch down ahead of Spring Racing Carnival raid

The first internationally-trained horses to touch down on Australian soil for the 2019 Victorian Spring Racing Carnival will come from Japan, with Meiner Wunsch, Meiner Fanrong and Suzuka Devious all scheduled to arrive in Melbourne on Tuesday, 24 September.

Of the trio, Meiner Wunsch perhaps brings the most impressive form, having either won or finished runner-up in four of his last five runs, with his most recent performance an impressive fourth in the Tancho Stakes (2600m) at Sapporo last Sunday. The five-year-old also finished fourth in the time-honoured Group 1 Kikuka Sho (3000m) at Kyoto in 2017, a race won by the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe-bound Kiseki.

Similarly, Meiner Fanrong – who was also sired by Big Red Farm’s stallion Stay Gold – has four wins to his name. His most recent finish was as runner-up in the Group 3 Hakodate Kinen (2000m) at Hakodate in mid-July. 

Two starts ago he ran at the same track in the Tomoe Sho (1800m), a race won by Suzuka Devious, the third member of the party which will begin their mandatory quarantine period in Australia on 24 September. 

Trained by Mitsuru Hashida, who also saddles globetrotting Group 1 winner Deidre, the eight-year-old sprang a surprise at big odds to record his first win since the Group 3 Niigata Daishoten (2000m) in May 2018. 

The trio will complete their post-export quarantine on Saturday 12 October, leaving them free to chase the riches on offer during the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival, which for the first time this year boasts prizemoney and bonuses in excess of AU$100 million.  

Suzuka Devious is expected to make his Australian debut in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday, 12 October, the first day of the famous Stella Artois Caulfield Cup Carnival. Meiner Fanrong will either start his campaign in the Ladbrokes Stakes alongside Suzuka Devious, or contest the Listed TAB Cranbourne Cup (2025m) the following day. 

Meiner Wunsch has been nominated for both the AU$5 million Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) and the AU$8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m), but may have to run in the Group 2 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes – run on the same day as the Ladbrokes Stakes – in order to improve his chances of gaining a start in either race.