2017 Japan Cup
November 26, 2017 - 1 ½ miles (2,400 meters), Tokyo, Japan
Preview: November 24, 2017
Seventeen horses from three different continents are going to compete in next Sunday's 2017 Japan Cup (7:40 AM, CET).
Title holder Kitasan Black
will enter this 5.6 dollar million race as favourite.
His most dangerous rivals are presumed to be Hong Kong Vase gainer Satono Crown
and Derby winner Rey De Oro
All other starters must show decent improvement, if they want to restrain Japan's Horse of the Year 2016.
2016 Japan Cup
wire-to-wire, he will be the red hot favourite this year again.
Despite a miserable start, heavy rain and soft ground he triumphed in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1, 2,000 m) most recently,
it was his first race after a four month lay-off.
As a three-year-old he had won the Japanese St Leger over 3,000 meters,
which shows neither distance nor ground conditions matter to him.
The son of Black Tide, a brother of Deep Impact, finished among the first three in sixteen of his eighteen starts,
he won six times on Group 1 level.
The Japan Cup will be Kitasan Black's second last race,
he will retire after the Arima Kinen on December 24.
gave Kitasan Black a big fight in the Tenno Sho (Autumn),
he lost that race only by a neck at the end.
It was the sixth time the two five-year-olds faced each other, two times Satono Crown prevailed,
most recently in the Takarazuka Kinen (G1, 2,200 m) in June.
The son of Marju (IRE) has never taken part in the Japan Cup,
but the fact that he beat Highland Reel when won the Hong Kong Vase last year,
makes him a dangerous contender.
Satono Crown's Italian Jockey Mirco Demuro is in tremendous form at present,
he just won the last two Japanese Group 1 races (Queen Elizabeth II Cup, Mile Championship).
Rey De Oro
is obviously among the hottest favourites as he is the current
Japanese Derby winner. Because he has not competed against older horses yet,
it is difficult to judge his real potential.
At least the runner-up of the Derby, Suave Richard, prevailed against older horses
when recently won the Copa Republica Argentina (G2, 2,450 m) easily.
Rey De Oro started only once since his Derby triumph, won a Group 2 race ahead of Kiseki.
Kiseki won the Japanese St Leger afterwards and is now favourite to win the Hong Kong Vase on December 12.
So far eleven Derby winners took part in the Japan Cup as three-year-olds,
only Jungle Pocket succeeded in 2001.
would usually be among the Japan Cup favourites, considering she is the current Japanese Oaks winner.
But the daughter of Frankel, who is trained by Kazuo Fujisawa like Rey De Oro,
disappointed twice when competed against older horses.
She came only sixth in the Tenno Sho (Autumn), but her performance was actually not too bad,
considering that she had to travel wide. She might be a lot better in the Japan Cup, if the track is firm.
won the Japanese Derby and the Prix Niel last year,
but then disappointed in the 2016 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The son of Deep Impact has not won a single race this year,
at least displayed rising form when finished fifth in the Tenno Sho (Autumn).
He would definitely be suited by firmer ground.
finished third in last year's Japan Cup and second in the Tenno Sho (Spring)
in April. Out of a break he was only narrowly beaten in the Kyoto Daishoten recently.
The son of Heart's Cry has not won a Group 1 race yet, but should not be underestimated.
was the only horse able to keep up with
Kitasan Black and Satono Crown in the Tenno Sho (Autumn).
The four-year-old could win only one of his thirteen stars,
at least finished second in last year's St Leger.
If the ground will be soft in the Japan Cup, his chances rise.
Sounds Of Earth
became runner-up in last year's Japan Cup
but failed in the Arima Kinen and Dubai Sheema Classic afterwards.
Also his recent appearance at the Kyoto Daishoten ended with a 13th place on October 9.
was runner-up in the
2015 Japan Cup
and got third in the 2016 Dubai Sheema ahead of Higland Real and the 2014 winner One And Only
Both colts were never placed better than fifth since.
Statistics do not really indicate a success of a foreign starter,
no foreign horse made it under the first three of the Japan Cup the last eleven years.
Apart of the unusual hard ground at the Tokyo course,
the race comes at the end of a long season for the European horses,
while the Japanese horses are well rested after a summer break.
A start in the Japan Cup can still be profitable,
even on the 8th place US$ 156,000 are distributed.
got an invitation to the Japan Cup for his victory in the
2017 Grosse Preis von Baden
The son of Cape Cross proved his class again on November 1 when defended his title
in the Grosse Preis von Bayern at Munich (G1, 2,400 m).
Guignol usually runs his races from the front.
With that tactic, he could get in trouble with Kitasan Black, who also likes to lead.
already participated in last year's Japan Cup, where he ended seventh,
less than a length behind runner-up Sounds Of Earth.
The son of Adlerflug got second to Guignol three times this year, but proved his class with a seventh place in the
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The fast run races in Japan should suit him,
though he is only one of several late chargers in the field.
could be classified the same level as Iquitos, at least in reference to the Arc,
where Idaho passed the line just behind Iquitos.
The Aidan O'Brien trained son of Galileo came third in the 2016 Epsom Derby
but has not won a Group 1 race yet.
International experience will not be Idaho's problem, he already started in five different countries,
he will be ridden by Ryan Moore.
won the Caulfield Cup as 50:1 outsider in October but finished only 15th in
the Melbourne Cup afterwards. His Trainer David Hayes had won the Japan Cup with Better Loosen Up back in 1990.
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.
for the 2017 Japan Cup can be found at
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.
(decimal, Nov. 24)