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Early arrival for international contenders

International contenders for the Melbourne carnival spring have begun to arrive in Australia.

Five Australian-owned Japanese imports and a Japanese-bred French horse to be trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have began two weeks quarantine at Werribee ahead of joining their respective stables.

Tosen Basil, Admire Robson and Cassius are bound for the Darren Weir stable while Happy Moment and Danon Roman will join fellow Japanese import Ambitious at Anthony Freedman’s stable.

Like Ambitious, those five horses are owned by a syndicate headed by Ozzie Kheir who is looking forward to his latest acquisitions featuring during the carnival.

“I think it is shaping up to be one of the best years of quality horses travelling from both Europe and Japan,” Kheir told Racing Victoria.

“We have our existing contenders like Marmelo, Wall of Fire and Ambitious who have improved, and we’re excited to add the new internationals from Japan to our list of contenders.

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“I think Tosen Basil and Admire Robson are the two best horses I have purchased.

“One is a seasoned stayer with proven performances against world-class Group One horses, and the other is a future star by Deep Impact.”

Cups contender Tosen Basil is the headline act having finished sixth in Japan’s premier two-mile race, the Tenno Sho, at his last appearance.

A lightly-raced six-year-old, he finished third to Highland Reel in the Group One Hong Kong Vase three starts back.

Happy Moment and sprinter-miler Cassius have raced exclusively in Group company in Japan over the past 12 months, while Admire Robson, who has been unplaced just once in nine starts, and Danon Roman show staying talent.

Waterhouse and Bott take over the training of Hush Writer hoping the northern hemisphere-bred three-year-old can emulate last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling.

Placed in all three starts in France, including last month’s Group Two Prix Hocquart, Hush Writer is likely to begin his spring campaign in September.

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