Japanese stayer Mer De Glace (JPN) wins Group 1 Caulfield Cup and becomes second favourite for Group 1 Melbourne Cup

Japanese stayer Mer De Glace (JPN), trained by Hisashi Shimizu and ridden by Australian jockey Damien Lane, became the 10th Japanese trained horse to contest the A$5m, Group 1 Caulfield Cup at Caulfield, Melbourne, and the second to win the world’s richest 2400m handicap on Saturday after Admire Rakti (JPN) won in 2014.

Mer De Glace (JPN) and Damien Lane winning the 2019 Group 1 Caulfield Cup, picture Quentinjlang.com
Mer De Glace (JPN) and Damien Lane winning the 2019 Group 1 Caulfield Cup, picture Quentinjlang.com

The win by the five-year-old Rulership entire was dominate with Lane sending the stayer with 55.5kg away down the middle of the track to win with a 1L margin over Vow And Declare (AUS) (Declaration Of War) with 52.5kg and Mirage Dancer (GB) (Frankel) with 56kg a head away in third place.

Mer De Glace immediately moved into second favouritism for the $8m, Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5th with Racing Victoria (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, announcing a weight penalty to Mer De Glace of 1kg for the world famous Cup.

After the penalty Mer De Glace will carry 56kg in the Melbourne Cup and he is guaranteed a start in the 24 horse field moving from 60th position in the ballot order to equal first alongside The Andrew Ramsden (2800m) winner Steel Prince (IRE) and The Bart Cummings (2500m) winner Surprise Baby (NZ).

“Mer de Glace was enormously impressive in winning a very competitive renewal of the Caulfield Cup,” said Carpenter.

“The first six placegetters officially finished within two lengths of each of other and there was a litany of hard luck stories from the beaten runners.
“The 1kg penalty is the same given to Caulfield Cup winners Boom Time (2017), Mongolian Khan (2015), Dunaden (2012) and Viewed (2009) over the last decade.

“Mer De Glace faces a new challenge in the Melbourne Cup over 3200m at Flemington in 15 days and a new wave of challengers given 17 of the top 24 horses in the current Melbourne Cup Order of Entry did not compete in the Caulfield Cup.”

If he takes his place at Flemington, Mer de Glace will seek to become the first horse to complete the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double since New Zealand mare Ethereal in 2001. Since then 12 Caulfield Cup winners have contested the Melbourne Cup with none able to achieve a top three finish.

Only Elvstroem (fourth in 2004), Master O’Reilly (eighth in 2007), Viewed (seventh in 2009), Fawkner (sixth in 2013) and Best Solution (eighth in 2018) have managed to finish in the top 10 in the Melbourne Cup after winning the Caulfield Cup.

Carpenter noted that the last Melbourne Cup winner to have competed in the Caulfield Cup in the same year was Viewed in 2008, who ran 10th at Caulfield before winning the Flemington feature.

Since 2008, 81 Caulfield Cup runners have contested the Melbourne Cup with the best placed finishers being Johannes Vermeer (second in 2017); and Lucas Cranach (2011), Jakkalberry (2012) and Who Shot Thebarman (2014) who all ran third.

The win by Mer De Glace was ably assisted by Lane recommending to connections that they campaign him in Victoria after Lane won twice on him during his summer riding contract in Japan earlier this year.

Both wins were at Group 3 level, the first in the Daishoten over 2000m at Niigata in April and the second in the Naruo Kinen over 2000m at Hanshin in June.

The Caulfield Cup win earned stakes of A$3.1 million and from 18 starts Mer De Glace has won eight times and placed in a further seven to take his stake earnings to just under A$5.5 million.

Japanese runners may well feature again over the coming three weeks of the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival with two, Lys Graceieux (JPN) and Kluger (JPN), in the field for the $5m, Group 1 WFA WS Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.