JAPANESE staying star Fame Game will rocket into Melbourne Cup favouritism if he wins or runs a mighty race for ace jockey Zac Purton in today's $3m Group 1 Caulfield Cup over 2400 metres.
All eyes will be on the high-class invader whose main mission is the 3200m race on the first Tuesday in November, with some experts rating him better than the late Admire Rakti, who stormed home to win last year's Caulfield Cup before his ill-fated tilt at the Melbourne Cup two weeks later.
Fame Game has drawn barrier one, not the ideal barrier for a drop-out horse unless Purton can get his off the fence and into a trailing position mid- race, or before the pace gets turned on full throttle when he has no galloping room.
The speed of the race will be critical to Fame Game and a few other "get-back horses", but bookmakers have shown the import a lot of respect, keeping him a $9 chance for his Australian debut around a track that can sometimes bring good horses undone.
He hasn't raced since April when a fast closing second in the Group 1 Tenno Show over 3200m after winning the Group 3 Diamond Stakes over 3400m in Tokyo.
Against him today is the fact he has not won first-up in his tries and is a much better horse second-up where he has won twice and third-up where he is unbeaten.
Australian Derby winner Mongolian Khan remains the firm pre-race favourite, although bookmakers have reported good backing for Damien Oliver's mount Snow Sky ($10), rated one of Europe's best middle-distance gallopers and the John O'Shea-trained Hauraki, runner-up to Mongolian Khan in the Derby.
Hauraki continues to firm into $8.50 along with Oaks winning mare Set Square ($9).
The value runners could be Rising Romance ($10), second last year after dashing clear in the straight, Kiwi Volkstock'n'barrell ($21) and Glen Boss's mount, Royal Descent ($17).
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