Japan Cup 2020

2020 Japan Cup

November 29, 2020 - 1 ½ miles (2,400 meters), Tokyo, Japan

Preview: October 17, 2020

Recently Japanese horse racing has not been as successful as it used to be, but two three-year-olds give hope. The 2020 Japan Cup will show, if the filly Daring Tact and the colt Contrail are able to defeat older horses like Almond Eye.

Contrail seems to become Japan's next superstar. The three-year-old son of Deep Impact is still unbeaten, won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, the 2000 Guineas (Satsuki Sho) and the Japanese Derby (Tokyo Yushun). After a four-month break he captured the Kobe Shimbun Hai recently and will now try to get the Japanese Triple Crown by winning the St Leger (Kikuka Sho) on October 25. Contrail is still unproven against older horses, but if he will run in the 2020 Japan Cup, he would obviously be amongst the hot favourites.

Daring Tact is in a way the female counterpart to Contrail. She is also unbeaten, won the 1000 Guineas (Oka Sho) and the Japanese Oaks (Yushun Himba), the Oaks even in new record time. The daughter of the 2014 Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia runs next in the Shuka Sho on October 18 and would only be the sixth filly to win the Japanese Filly Triple Crown. She enters the race from a break since May however. Daring Tact run only three races in her career and should have enough reserves left for the Japan Cup.

Almond Eye has been Japan's big international hope for a long time and won the Dubai Turf last year, but has been quite a disappointment since. As clear favourite she ended only ninth in the 2019 Arima Kinen, got also beaten in the Yasuda Kinen on June 7. The winner of the 2018 Japan Cup will now try to defend her title in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) on November 1.

Curren Bouquetd'or finished runner-up in the 2019 Japan Cup, less than a length behind Suave Richard, who meanwhile retired. Last year Curren Bouquetd'or came second in the Oaks and the Shuka Sho, got also beaten by a nose in the Sankei Sho All on September 27. The 'eternal second' should not be underestimated in the Japan Cup again.

Glory Vase, like Almond Eye running in the colours of Silk Racing, won the Hong Kong Vase last year over 2,400 meters and will obviously be amongst the favourites in the Japan Cup. The five-year-old son of Deep Impact disappointed on his seasonal debut in the Takarazuka Kinen in June, but just prevailed in the Kyoto Daishoten. He is also said to run in the Tenno Sho (Autumn), where he would not only face Almond Eye, but the winner of the 2018 Arima Kinen Blast Onepiece or the 2018 and 2019 derby winners Wagnerian and Saturnalia, all of them candidates for the 2020 Japan Cup too.

The Japan Cup takes place on Sunday morning 7:40 am (CET). A replay of the race, where the result is NOT displayed in advance, is provided by Horse Racing Japan. Press the video button in the Japan Cup row.

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