2018 Japan Cup
November 25, 2018 - 1 ½ miles (2,400 meters), Tokyo, Japan
Preview: November 14, 2018
There hasn't been too much glamour around Japanese horse racing lately,
but that might change now, as Triple-Crown winning Almond Eye
could follow former great Japanese fillies.
The opposition she will face in the 2018 Japan Cup certainly is not
the top of the international horse racing elite,
still horses like title holder Cheval Grand
Arima Kinen winner Satono Diamond
have to be beaten.
Last year's Irish Derby winners Capri
will arrive from Europe.
won the Japanese 1000 Guineas over a mile
in record time on April 8. Six weeks later she triumphed in
the Oaks (2,400 m) in the second-fastest time
in the race’s 79-year history. She then also managed the third part
of the Triple Crown by winning the Shuka Sho (2.000 m)
on October 14. Only four horses had won the Fillies’ Triple before,
most recently Gentildonna,
who is still the only horse to win the Japan Cup twice.
Almond Eyes father Lord Kanaloa won six times on Group 1 level
over sprint distances. The stamina comes from her mother
Fusaichi Pandora, who was placed four times in G1 stayers races.
Almond Eye will be competing against older and male horses for the first time
in the 2018 Japan Cup.
will obviously be among the favourites
as he is the defending champion.
The son of Heart's Cry had won the
2017 Japan Cup
as a 12:1 outsider, he then came third in the
2017 Arima Kinen
and took the same route as he did last year.
Like 2017 he gave a great performance in the Tenno Sho (Spring) in April,
got only beaten by a neck by Rainbow Line.
After the summer break he finished fourth in the
Kyoto Daishoten on October 8, but we can expect a different
Cheval Grand at the Japan Cup again.
He already proved that he likes the race when came third in the
2016 Japan Cup
had been Japan's big hope in last year's
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after he had won the
2016 Arima Kinen
It took him a long time to recover from his heavy defeat in France though.
Most recently the son of Deep Impact caught attention again by winning the Kyoto Daishoten on October 8.
In that form the former St Leger winner and Derby runner-up
could become a danger in the 2018 Japan Cup.
won the Japanese St Leger (3,000 m) last year,
but disappointed in the following races. After a 105 days break
he displayed rising form with a third place in the Mainichi Okan in October
and confirmed that form with another third place in the Tenno Sho (Autumn).
Considering the weak quality in this year's Japan Cup,
he should be able to get placed again.
displayed strong form at the beginning of the year
when won the Kinko Sho (G2) and Osaka Hai (G1), both over 2,000 meters.
He then disappointed in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) after a four-month break.
Will he find back to form, last year's Copa Republica Argentina winner
might also make an impact.
had won only one of his 15 starts until
he triumphed in the Takarazuka Kinen on June 24.
At Hanshin he did not only beat the multiple Group 1-winner Werther,
he also defeated Vivlos
, who had won the Dubai Turf last year.
However, the son of King Kamehameha finished only fifth in the
Tenno Sho (Autumn) recently.
was amongst the Japan Cup favourites last year,
after he had won the Takarazuka Kinen and was only narrowly beaten
by Kitasan Black in the Tenno Sho (Autumn). He disappointed in
the Japan Cup and has lost his form since.
In normal form the former Hong Kong Vase-winner would be on this year's short list
but at present not much speaks in his favour.
won the Irish Derby and the St Leger Stakes last year.
He got injured on his shoulder afterwards and could not start before
September this year. He gained a strong fifth place in the
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe but disappointed in the Champion Stakes afterwards.
That is quite typical for the son of Galileo, who often alternates between
good and bad performances.
However, 2006 was the last year a foreign horse managed
a place among the first three in the Japan Cup.
got an invitation to the Japan Cup
after he became runner-up in
the Canadian International Stakes in October.
The five years old England based gelding
had finished third ahead of Saxon Warrior
in the Juddmonte International Stakes in August.