Sunday, May 28, 2017

Japan welcomes 2017 Emirates Melbourne Cup

One of the world's most coveted sporting trophies was on show in Japan today, with the 2017 Emirates Melbourne Cup the centrepiece of the Victoria Racing Club's (VRC) racing and tourism engagement lunch in Tokyo.

To coincide with the running of one of Japan's biggest races, the Group 1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) (2400m) on Sunday, VRC representatives engaged in market with key racing figures, government officials, tourism operators and media at an event held at Tokyo Racecourse.

The event was attended by guests comprising representatives from the Japan Racing Association (JRA) including Jun Tanizaki (Director), Akihiro Shinoda (GM of International Department) and Hiroshi Ito (Head of International Planning Development)  and members of the Yoshida family, who have been instrumental in crafting Japan's reputation as a global force in thoroughbred racing and breeding.

Speaking at the event, VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott noted that Japan forms an important pillar of the VRC's international strategy, and highlighted the positive relationship that the Club shares with the Asian nation.  

"The Melbourne Cup Carnival continues to experience strong visitation from Asia, and our wonderful relationship with the JRA benefits both our respective international racing events to grow wagering and horse participation in both directions," Mrs Elliott said.

"We are proud to use trade, lifestyle and tourism, and of course, racing, to strengthen that bond further."

Six Japanese horses have joined a large international contingent to contest races during the past three Melbourne Cup Carnivals, with Japanese horse connections embarking on the quest for a second victory in the Emirates Melbourne Cup, following the landmark win of Delta Blues in 2006 at Flemington.

Having tasted success in Australia's greatest race with Delta Blues, prominent owner-breeder Katsumi Yoshida of Northern Farm was represented by son Shunsuke Yoshida who shared with the audience in Tokyo memories from their triumph in 2006. Shunsuke remarked that his father was "most overjoyed by the massive outpour of congratulations from the entire country of Australia. In particular, despite Delta Blues being a foreign bred horse, the congratulations extended beyond the race track to restaurants and even the staff at the airport.

Asked about the importance of the Emirates Melbourne Cup for Northern Farm, Shunsuke commented that "we have always known about the prestigious reputation of Australia's landmark race, having shuttled stallions back and forth between the North and Southern Hemisphere for several decades prior to our win in 2006. Since our win we have enjoyed success at other races around the world, but to win again at Melbourne would be the ultimate prize."

Interest from Japan in the Emirates Melbourne Cup continues to soar, with 2016 marking the first year that the race was broadcast into Japan via The Green Channel. This was also the first time Japanese racing enthusiasts were permitted to bet on the Emirates Melbourne Cup, with approximately A$1.92 million wagered on the race.

The Emirates Melbourne Cup is the pinnacle of the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival, which injected more than A$427 million of gross economic benefit into the Victorian economy in 2016.

In 2016, there were over 80,000 visitors from interstate and international to the Melbourne Cup Carnival, such is the attraction of Australia's original home grown event.  

The 157th edition of the Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) will be run at 3pm (Australian EDT) on Tuesday 7 November, featuring A$6.2 million in prizemoney and the $200,000 18-carat gold Emirates Melbourne Cup trophy.

The 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival runs from 4 November to 11 November. Visit for tickets and information.

Image:         Models wearing Myer and Kim Fletcher Millinery and the Emirates Melbourne Cup in Japan.

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