This Sunday one of the biggest international races, the 2011 Japan Cup, will take place at Tokyo Racecourse this Sunday, November 27, and the iconic showdown has attracted one of the most impressive fields in history.
The 16-horse Japan Cup 2011 field features a plethora of Group / Grade 1 heroes vying to become the 31st Japan Cup winner and take out Japan’s richest horse racing event, a total of 521 million yen (AUS$6.9 million) on offer.
Two of the top contenders in the Japan Cup markets, odds also set to be released at Luxbet shortly for Aussie punters, are Dubai World Cup champion Victoire Pisa and reigning Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Danedream.
Machiavellian four-year-old Victoire Pisa is the top-rated of the Japanese contingent looking to keep the Japan Cup on local shores, the galloper having become the first Japan-trained horse to take out the Dubai World Cup back in March.
Other notable locals representing Japan on Sunday include Kojiro Hashiguchi’s four-year-old Rose Kingdom and last year’s Tenno Sho Spring champ Jaguar Mail.
It is German-trained filly Danedream, however, who currently sits at the top of the Japan Cup betting at bookies around the globe following her record-breaking, five-length Arc success last month in Paris.
Arc runner-up Shareta is also among the Japan Cup field this year, while the other international raiders are Manhattan Handicap winner, veteran seven-year-old Mission Approved, and Canadian International hero Sarah Lynx.
Danedream, Shareta, Mission Approved and Sarah Lynx are all out to break a recent drought for the visitors, the last non Japan-trained horse to win the Japan Cup being Alkaased six years ago, who was the 14th horse from aboard to salute.
Alkaased is still the current Japan Cup race record holder having won the prestigious 2400 metre feature in a smart 2:22.1 seconds.
Juicy bonuses are available to three of the four internationals should they win on Sunday, Danedream eligible for an additional ¥100 million, Sarah Lynx ¥70 million and Shareta ¥40 million.
The Alain de Royer Dupre-trained Barathea filly Shareta is due to be ridden by a familiar name to Australians, jockey Christophe Lemaire, who rode this year’s Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden to victory.
Adding more interest for Australian punters and racing fans is Aussie hoop Craig Williams, who missed the Melbourne Cup winning ride on Dunaden due to suspension, booked to partner last month’s Tenno Sho (Autumn) winner Tosen Jordan on Sunday.
Tosen Jordan, one of three horses from the stables of Triple Crown-winning trainer Yasutoshi Ikee, is currently the third favourite to win the Japan Cup, the five-year-old looking for their third victory on the trot coming off a win in the Emperor’s Cup over 2000m at Tokyo on October 30.
Ikee will also be represented by two exciting four-year-olds To The Glory and Trailblazer who was last seen wining the Grade 2 Copa Republica Argentina.
Second favourite in the Japan Cup markets is then Buena Vista who was fourth to Tosen Jordan last start.
One person firmly on the favourite’s bandwagon ahead of the supercharged clash is Danedream’s jockey Andrasch Starke who rode 1997 Japan Cup fourth placegetter Caitano.
“The Japan Cup is a tough race, she has had a hard year and anything on top of the Arc would be a bonus,” he said.
“But this horse surprises me all the time.
“She doesn’t show you anything in her work but she is a tremendous filly and if she is in the same form – and I think she will be – then we are in with a real chance.”
Although not noted for her blistering trackwork, Danedream had trainer Peter Schiergen smiling earlier this week when she worked well in a gallop on Wednesday running 1400 metres in 1:33.20, the filly having arrived in Japan on November 16.
“I asked the jockey to drive her a bit strongly in the last 600 metres,” Schiergen said.
“We used the dirt course because the turf was a bit too firm, but I’m very satisfied with the condition she is in.
“She is in the same form as she was for the Prix de l’Arch de Triomphe, so our hopes are high.”
The 2011 Japan Cup is scheduled to run as Tokyo Race 10 on Sunday at 3:20pm (local time).
2011 Japan Cup Field
|1||JAGUAR MAIL (JPN)||H/7||57.0||Hirofumi Shii||Noriyuki Hori|
|2||BUENA VISTA (JPN)||M/5||55.0||Yasunari Iwata||Hiroyoshi Matsuda|
|3||ROSE KINGDOM (JPN)||C/4||57.0||Ioritz Mendizabal||Kojiro Hashiguchi|
|4||OKEN BURCE LEE (JPN)||H/6||57.0||Masayoshi Ebina||Hidetaka Otonashi|
|5||TRAILBLAZER (JPN)||C/4||57.0||Yutaka Take||Yasutoshi Ikee|
|6||TO THE GLORY (JPN)||C/4||57.0||Yuichi Fukunaga||Yasutoshi Ikee|
|7||PELUSA (JPN)||C/4||57.0||Norihiro Yokoyama||Kazuo Fujisawa|
|8||VICTOIRE PISA (JPN)||C/4||57.0||Micrco Demuro||Katshuiko Suumii|
|9||SARAH LYNX (IRE)||F/4||55.0||Christophe Soumillon||John Hammond|
|10||KING TOP GUN (JPN)||H/8||57.0||Keita Tosaki||Ippo Sameshima|
|11||MISSION APPROVED (USA)||H/7||57.0||Jose Espinoza||Naipaul Chatterpaul|
|12||WIN VARIATION (JPN)||C/3||55.0||Katsumi Ando||Masahiro Matsunaga|
|13||DANEDREAM (GER)||F/3||53.0||Andrasch Starke||Peter Schiergen|
|14||SHARETA (IRE)||F/3||53.0||Christophe Lemaire||Alain de Royer Dupre|
|15||EISHIN FLASH (JPN)||C/4||57.0||Kenichi Ikezoe||Hideaki Fujiwara|
|16||TOSEN JORDAN (JPN)||H/5||57.0||Craig Williams||Yasutoshi Ikee|