Even Craig Williams’ children hope Japanese horse Hokko Brave will be the one to give the jockey an elusive Melbourne Cup win.
“Definitely have to win the Melbourne Cup, no doubt about it,” Williams says.
“I don’t think my children will let me get off that easily.
“But this year looks very, very comfortable with Hokko Brave.”
Williams missed the winning Melbourne Cup ride on Dunaden in 2011 after failing to have a careless-riding ban reversed, taking his family to the movies instead.
The 38-year-old says it’s a priority to get the one major he needs to join a select group of jockeys to have won a Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup and Golden Slipper during their careers.
Hokko Brave and early favourite Fame Game are both chasing Japan’s second Melbourne Cup win.
“To get those two horses coming out, it shows how much the Japanese really want to get the holy grail, our Melbourne Cup, and take it back to Japan,” Williams said on Tuesday.
Delta Blues led in an historic quinella for Japan in 2006 when he defeated Pop Rock, a year after Eye Popper became the first Japanese-trained horse to contest the race when unplaced.
Williams will ride Hokko Brave in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
“I’ve no doubt in my mind that if Hokko Brave brings his best form he can win both races.
“Not only do we want to win the Caulfield Cup but worse case over here he runs well, similar to Pop Rock and Delta Blues, and then goes into the Melbourne Cup with the experience of racing in Australia, which seems to be a really key ingredient to horses that have won the Melbourne Cup in recent times from overseas.”
At this stage Williams believes Fame Game and Red Cadeaux – the 10-year-old crowd favourite lining up for his fifth Melbourne Cup in a row – represent Hokko Brave’s biggest competition.
Fame Game and Hokko Brave will be the first of this year’s international visitors to arrive in Melbourne on Saturday.
As to whether Hokko Brave can make 2015 the year Williams realises his dream of winning a Melbourne Cup, the jockey quips: “I hope we’re not saying it next year any way.”