Japan Cup

When? Sunday, 24th November 2013

Where? Tokyo Racecourse in Fuchu (Tokyo), Japan

JapN Cup Horse RacingThe Japan Cup is an invitational event and was set up to provide Japanese horses with the opportunity to race against some of the world’s best. The inaugural running of the Japan Cup took place in 1981 and was restricted to horses trained in Japan, the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and India.

Betting Online on the Japan Cup

Brand Horse Racing? US Players? Review Play now
Paddypower Yes No Paddy Power PaddyPower.com

The Japan Cup has quickly established itself as one of the most prestigious horse races in the World and winners have come from Japan, North America, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy. For this region, it is also one of the main events for betting on horse racing and similar sports. It takes place on the last Sunday of November at Tokyo Racecourse over a distance of one and a half miles on turf. It is run under weight for age conditions with a maximum field of 18 runners and offers a purse of nearly US$6 million.

The Winners

The first running of the race was won by the American five-year-old mare Mairzy Doates, trained by John Fulton and partnered by Cash Asmussen.

The following year, the race produced a thrilling finish when the American-trained Half Iced beat the top French fillies All Along and April Run by a neck and the same with Ireland’s Stanerra just behind in fourth. Stanerra returned in 1983 to record a famous victory under jockey Brian Rouse, just getting the verdict in a photo finish with the Japanese-trained Kyoei Promise. Stanerra was owned and trained by Irish retail millionaire Frank Dunne and won both the Hardwicke Stakes and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The race was given Grade 1 status in 1984 when Britain enjoyed their first success with Clive Brittain’s Jupiter Island, ridden by Pat Eddery. The seven-year-old held off the Guy Harwood-trained Allez Milord by a head an an-all British finish.

France won the event in 1987 when Robert Collet and Alain Lequeux teamed up with Le Glorieux. In 1989 New Zealand’s popular mare Horlicks won by a neck in a new record time for 2400 meters. Golden Pheasant gave the USA a fourth Japan Cup victory in 1991 but Japan claimed the next three renewals with Tokai Teio (1992), Legacy World (1993) and Marvelous Crown (1994).

The truly international nature of the race was further underlined when Lando gave Germany their first win in 1995 when ridden by Michael “Muis” Roberts. Sir Michael Stoute won the Cup in consecutive seasons in 1996 and 1997 with Singspiel and Pilsudski.

Japan celebrated a famous one, two, three in 1998 led by El Condor Pasa. This feat was to be repeated in 2004 when Zenno Rob Roy (Olivier Peslier) again triggered a one, two, three for the hosts. In 2002 Tokyo racecourse was in the middle of renovation so the race was held at Nakayama Racecourse over 2200 metres, victory going to Frankie Dettori on the Italian-trained Falbrav.

Alkaased smashed the previous record set by Horlicks when winning in 2005 and Deep Impact won in 2006. Buena Vista was controversially disqualified from first place in 2010 with the race being awarded to Rose Kingdom. Buena Vista returned to sensationally win the Cup the following year but no horse has managed to win the Japan Cup on more than one occasion.

Japan Cup 2012 Review

In 2012, Gentildonna just got the better of Arc runner-up Orfevre to become the first three-year-old filly to win the Japan Cup. She was sired by the 2006 Japan Cup winner Deep Impact and was winning her fourth Group One race. It was a first Japan Cup success for trainer Sei Ishizaka and a third for jockey Yasunari Iwata (equalling Frankie Dettori and Yutaka Take as the most successful jockeys in the race).

Ed Dunlop’s Red Cadeaux fared best of the British challengers in eighth place with Jakkalberry (11th) and Mount Athos (12th). Arc winner Solemia could do no better than 13th having defeated Orfevre in France previously.

Japan Cup 2013 Preview

The Japan Cup for 2013 will take place on Sunday 24th November. Gentildonna and Orfevre remain in training and could renew their rivalry this year. Orfevre’s more immediate target is the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe but he missed the Takarazuka Kinen, a top trial for the Cup, after bleeding in training. The race was won by Gold Ship who strode clear to win by three and a half-lengths with the favourite Gentildonna only third. Connections of Gentildonna have abandoned plans to send her to France for the Arc and will concentrate on trying to defend her title in the Japan Cup.

Author Profile: