Japan Cup 2015
November 29, 2015 - 1 ½ miles (2,400 meters), Turf, Tokyo, Japan
Preview: November 27, 2015
No foreign horse managed a place among the top three of the Japan Cup within the last eight years,
considering the absence of Japanese top runners that might change on Sunday (7:40 am CET).
Some of the world's best rated horses (Gentildonna, Harp Star, Just A Way, Epiphaneia)
made last year's Japan Cup to one of the best races of the planet, but meanwhile they all retired.
And as several others of the best Japanese thoroughbreds will miss
the Japan Cup as well, the foreign guests get in the spotlight.
is well recommended through his fifth place in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe,
Ascot Gold Cup winner Trip To Paris
will find support as well.
Also two German horses made the trip to Tokyo, the group one winners
should not be underestimated, even though they have to start from wide outside.
is the only domestic horse in the race
that has proven his class on the highest international level,
the six-year-old gray is anything else than reliable though.
Late bloomer Lovely Day
displayed outstanding form this year,
he will enter the Japan Cup as favourite.
Japan is without doubt one of the leading players in international horse racing, still the
country is in a transition period at present, could not even send a horse to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe this year.
Duramente, the current winner of the Japanese 2,000 Guineas and Japanese Derby got injured in June and will
not be able to run again in 2015.
With Real Steel, Lia Fail and St Leger winner Kitasan Black other strong three-year-olds
will miss the Japan Cup as well as Singspiel and Isla Bonita.
Japan Cup 2013
Denim And Ruby and last year's St Leger winner Toho Jackal are injured.
Kizuna, fourth in the Arc 2013, and double Thenno Sho (Spring) winner Fenomeno retired recently.
So friends of horse racing have to get used to new Japanese names, headed by Lovely Day
the most promising of the domestic starters.
As 237:1 outsider the five-year-old son of King Kamehameha was without a chance in the 2013 Derby,
but left horses like Kizuna or Harp Sharp behind in the Kyoto Kinen in February 2015.
He then confirmed his class with a surprising victory in the prestigious Takarazuka Kinen,
also won the Kyoto Daishoten and most recently reaped the Tenno Sho (Autumn),
which clearly makes him the number one of the Japanese thoroughbreds.
Like Lovely Day also Mikki Queen
is trained by Yasutoshi Ikee.
Six starts, four victories, two times runner-up, that is the impressive record of the current Japanese Oaks winner.
Following a summer break she gained her second group one victory when won
the Shuka Sho in October. She will now face older and male horses for the first time in the Japan Cup,
where she will run with a weight of only 53 kilogram.
Queens Ring got beaten by her in the Shuka Sho by a neck and already faced older opposition
on November 15, when was without a chance though.
The long and wide stretch of the Tokyo racecourse suits horses that come from the back.
To that category belongs Mikki Queen as well as Sounds of Earth, Admire Deus and Shonan Pandora.
Sounds of Earth
already proved his powerful speed in last year's Japanese
St Leger, did so again when ended second behind Lovely Day in the
Kyoto Daishoten recently. The four-year-old has not won a group race yet,
but further improvement is expected from the son of Neo Universe.
got only eleventh in the Tenno Sho (Autumn), but he clocked the best time of the whole field
on the final stretch which makes him an interesting candidate for the Japan Cup.
became fourth in the Tenno Sho (Autumn),
last year's Shuka Sho winner had already attracted attention when ended third in
the Takarazuka Kinen.
is the only survivor of the legendary older Japanese top class armada.
The six-year-old gray, who is well known for his moodiness, run only once in the Japan Cup so far,
when ended 15th in 2013. This May he won the Thenno Sho (Spring) over two miles,
then missed the break in the Takarazuka Kinen and finished second to last.
He did not run since and as he will get retired at the end of the year,
the Japan Cup might be a preparation for the Arima Kinen on December 27,
a race he had won 2012.
By wining last year's Japanese Derby One And Only
became a promising horse,
but he disappointed in the
Japan Cup 2014
and in the
Arima Kinen 2014
The son of Hearts Cry then gained a remarkable third place in the Dubai Sheema Classic just two length
behind Flintshire in March, has not shown much afterwards though.
At least from a Japanese point of view the Japan Cup 2015 does not seem to obtain the
world class of the recent years. Therefore the foreign guests must
be taken into consideration this time.
impressed with a fifth place in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the three-year-old
son of Dubawi won four of six starts, including the Grand Prix de Paris. He will be partnered by
Stephane Pasquier in Tokyo again, who has a perfect draw with box 8.
Trip To Paris
is in Asia since several weeks already. After he had won the
Ascot Gold Cup (4.023 m), he entered the Melbourne Cup 2015 (3.200 m) as second favourite,
where he then ended third. Ed Dunlop's four-year-old gelding had proven that he can also be successful over
shorter distances when became runner-up in the Caulfield Cup (2.400 m).
Two German horses will take part in the Japan Cup. The three-year-old filly Nightflower
was invited after winning the Preis von Europa (Group 1, 2,400m) at the end of September,
three weeks before she had impressed when came second in the
Grosse Preis von Baden 2015
The daughter of Dylan Thomas will get ridden by Germany's best jockey Andrasch Starke, who has already
gained experience in Japan. Nightflower will have to start from the widest box 18.
Stud Schlenderhan's Ito
won the Grosse Preis von Bayern on soft ground recently, his
jockey Filip Minarik became sixth with Ivanhowe in last year's Japan Cup.
To judge the potential of the German starters it might make sense to check them against Prince Gibraltar.
The French had relegated Nightflower to second place in the Grosse Preis von Baden,
but got beaten by Ito by four length in the Grosse Preis von Bayern two month later.
In the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Prince Gibraltar ended a neck behind Erupt.
Nightflower had beaten Ito by almost four length in September.
The Japan Cup is hold in Tokyo since 1981. The final stretch of the Fuchu racecourse
has an length of 525 meters and rises two meters for the first 225 meters.
The last foreign horse to win this race was
To watch a video
of the race without knowing the result you can go to
look for Japan Cup and click on the video button.
Ante-Post odds for the Japan Cup can be found at