Damian Lane puts Japanese horse Mer De Glace through his paces at Caulfield. Picture: AAP
Damian Lane puts Japanese horse Mer De Glace through his paces at Caulfield. Picture: AAP

Lane drives Japanese tilt at Caulfield and Melbourne cups

DAMIAN Lane had to make the case for Mer De Glace to travel Down Under, but boy, is he glad he did.

The jockey enjoyed a fruitful stint in Japan earlier this year - including piloting the five-year-old to two Group 3 wins - but admitted connections took some convincing to bring the star to Melbourne for the Caulfield Cup after he first raised the idea in June.

"I definitely threw the idea out there and myself and me manager spoke with the trainer and (breeders) Northern Farm and they were keen on the idea as well," Lane said.

"There was a bit of chatter for a while (before a decision was made).

"Originally before his last start, he was looking like he was going to get about 53kg, and they were really keen on that idea.

"When he won his last start and was going up to 55, they took a little bit more convincing. I said it was still a winnable weight."

Mer De Glace has remained firm in betting before Wednesday's barrier draw, and with Ladbrokes is rated as equal  favourite with Finche to win the race at $6.

Tuesday marked the first time that Lane had been aboard the Japanese hope - who he described as a "tradesman" who "just gets it done" - for trackwork and he said the galloper had settled in well at Caulfield.

"He looks in good shape," he said. "He wasn't out there to do a lot - the team had him fit before he left Japan, so he was just out there for a look.

"He did have a little look around, which was good. He seemed to take it all in his stride.

Jockey Damian Lane will ride Mer De Glace in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup. Picture: AAP Image
Jockey Damian Lane will ride Mer De Glace in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup. Picture: AAP Image

"It's good to have him out here. I'd only ridden him race day in Japan, so this is the first time I've been on his back (for) trackwork. but I'm excited and looking forward to Saturday.

"I'd say if he brings his best, he's going to be really competitive."

Trainer Hisashi Shimizu said the horse had travelled strongly and would be a genuine contender on Saturday.

Lane will partner another Japanese star in Lys Gracieux in the Cox Plate on October 26 and have his first gallop in Australia aboard the stayer at Moonee Valley on Wednesday.

Trainer Hisashi Shimizu with Mer De Glace. Picture: AAP Image
Trainer Hisashi Shimizu with Mer De Glace. Picture: AAP Image

"She's certainly as good, if not one of the best, horses I've ridden," Lane said. "She's a very, very talented mare and she's well-performed. I'm looking forward to getting back on her.

"She'll be fine (at the Valley). She's raced at a lot of tracks, has raced left-handed, right-handed … she's done a fair bit of seeing different circuits and she'll take to the Valley no worries."

News Corp Australia


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