Horse racing preview - 2017 Japan Cup
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Japan Cup 2017

November 26, 2017 - 1 ½ miles (2,400 meters), Tokyo, Japan

Preview: October 10, 2017

No doubt, there has been a shortage of foreign top horses in the Japan Cup, even worse, several of the best local horses did not turn up last year too. This seems to change this time, almost all of the best Japanese players want to start in the 2017 Japan Cup, also the bonus money for foreign competitors was doubled.
Cup holder Kitasan Black will be among the red hot favourites. His most dangerous rivals could be the Derby winner Rey De Oro, the three year old daughter of Frankel Soul Stirring or Hong Kong Vase winner Satono Crown. Guignol und Iquitos, first and second in the Grosse Preis von Baden, are presumed to arrive from Germany.

Kitasan Black won the 2016 Japan Cup wire-to-wire and was supposed to run the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe this year. As the five times Group 1 winner disappointed in the Takarazuka Kinen in June, responsibles decided not to send him to France, instead make a start on the Japan Cup and Arima Kinen (Dec. 24). The son of Black Tide, a brother of Deep Impact, will take part in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) on October 29 before.

Satono Crown triumphed in the Takarazuka Kinen against Japan's thoroughbred elite, he had already won the Hong Kong Vase ahead of Highland Reel last year. The five-year-old did not participate in the Japan Cup yet, he is expected to take the same route as Kitasan Black.

Soul Stirring was the first Group 1 winner for Frankel as a sire, no real surprise that she captured the Japanese Oaks in May. At the end of a four month break she then disappointed over a mile against the older and male horses in the Mainichi Okan on October 8. Jockey Christophe Lemaire explained afterwards the drop in trip had not suit her. Soul Stirring will run in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) next.

Rey De Oro is obviously among the hottest favourites as he is the current Japanese Derby winner. The son of King Kamehameha, who is trained by Kazuo Fujisawa like Soul Stirring, has already terminated his summer break by winning the Kobe Shimbun Hai (Group 2) on September 24. He has not yet competed against older horses as well.

Sounds Of Earth became runner-up in last years's Japan Cup but disappointed in the Arima Kinen and Dubai Sheema Classic afterwards. The six-year-old will enter the Kyoto Daishoten on October 9 before he takes part in the Japan Cup and Arima Kinen.

Gold Actor won the 2015 Arima Kinen as 17:1 outsider ahead of Sounds Of Earth and Kitasan Black. He has shown good form this year again when ended runner-up in the Takarazuka Kinen, only three-quarters of a length beaten by Satono Crown. His start at the All Comers on September 24 was cancelled, he now might go directly to the Japan Cup.

Mikki Queen achieved two parts of the Japanese Triple Crown in 2015 when won the Yushun Himba (Oaks) and Shuka Sho, still she struggled against older horses later on. However, the daughter of Deep Impact finished third in the Takarazuka Kinen lately. She suffered from a tendon injury since, but is supposed to enter the Queen Elizabeth II Cup on November 12 ahead of the Japan Cup.

Satono Diamond beat Kitasan Black by a neck in the 2016 Arima Kinen and has since been Japan's hope in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, where he only became fifteenth. His start in the 2017 Japan Cup 2017 is rather unlikely.

Guignol got a Japan Cup invitation for his victory in the 2017 Grosse Preis von Baden and according to his trainer Jean-Pierre Carvalho he will take a chance. Ahead of the trip to Japan the son of Cape Cross will try to defend his title in the Große Preis von Bayern at Munich on November 1. Guignol has won both above mentioned races from the front, if the same tactic is chosen in Tokyo, he will get in trouble with Kitasan Black.

Iquitos participated in last year's Japan Cup, where he ended seventh, only a length behind runner-up Sounds Of Earth. Because he came only second this year's Grosse Preis von Baden, he is not qualified for the Japan Cup, it is not unrealistic though that he still gets an invitation. Iquitos just proved his international class with a seventh place in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, he will also run the Grosse Preis von Bayern first.


Rennbahn Tokio The Japan Cup was first run in 1981. The Tokyo Racetrack could be described as undulating. The final stretch has a length of 525 meters and increases two meters within the first 225 meters.
Alkaased (Frankie Dettori) was the last foreign horse to win the Japan Cup back in 2005.

live video To watch a replay of the race without knowing the result got to Horse Racing Japan. Press the video button in the Japan Cup row.

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