2020 Japan Cup

2020 Japan Cup

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

  Pl. Dist.
Age Kg Trainer Jockey Odds  
Almond Eye 6 55,0 S. Kunieda C. Lemaire 2.2  
  2. 1 1/4 Contrail 3 55,0 Y. Yahagi Y. Fukunaga 2.8  
  3. Nk Daring Tact 3 53,0 H. Sugiyama K. Matsuyama 3.7  
  4. N Curren Bouquetd'or 4 55,0 S. Kunieda A. Tsumura 24.9  
  5. Nk Glory Vase 5 57,0 T. Ozeki Y. Kawada 17.2  
  6. 3 World Premiere 4 57,0 Y. Tomomichi Y. Take 45.4  
  7. H Mikki Swallow 6 57,0 T. Kikuzawa K. Tosaki 216.2  
  8. 2 Kiseki 6 57,0 K. Sumii S. Hamanaka 44.6  
  9. Nk Makahiki 7 57,0 Y. Tomomichi K. Miura 226.1  
  10. 2 1/2 Way To Paris 7 57,0 A. Marcialis M. Demuro 136.9  

11. 1 Perform A Promise 8 57,0 H. Fujiwara M. Iwata 312.5

12. 1 You Can Smile 5 57,0 Y. Tomomichi Y. Iwata 101.1

13. 2 Crescendo Love 6 57,0 T. Hayashi H. Uchida 432.9

14. 1 3/4 Taurus Gemini 4 57,0 S. Kobiyama H. Tanabe 460.3

15. dist. Yoshio 7 57,0 H. Mori M. Katsuura 321.6

Preview: November 26, 2020

Japanese horses have not been as successful as they used to be at international level, but two unbeaten three-year-olds stir up 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.

Daring Tact won the Japanese Filly Triple Tiara in October. Horses like Gentildonna or Almond Eye did so too, before they had captured the Japan Cup. Contrary to her famous predecessors, Daring Tact gained the Triple Tiara undefeated, even won the Oaks in a new record time. So far she started only five times in her career, should have enough reserves left for the Japan Cup. On soft ground she won the 1000 Guineas (Oka Sho, 1600 m) in April, gained the Japanese Oaks (Yushun Himba, 2400 m) despite an unfavourable run in May, then won the Shuka Sho (2000 m) after a five-month-break on October 18. The daughter of the 2014 Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia impresses with her tremendous finishing speed.

Contrail is in a way the male counterpart to Daring Tact, he also captured the Triple Crown and is unbeaten in six attempts. The son of Deep Impact won the 2000 Guineas (Satsuki Sho, 2000 m), the Japanese Derby (Tokyo Yushun, 2400 m) and most recently the St Leger (Kikuka Sho) over 3000 meters. Neither Contrail nor Daring Tact have competed against older horses, but they will be the horses to beat in the 2020 Japan Cup. Both trainers already confirmed that their three-year-old stars will run in the Japan Cup.

Almond Eye has been Japan's biggest hope in recent years. She did win the Dubai Turf last year, but could not really satisfy the high international expectations. Meanwhile, she has been very successful on home soil, gained eight Group 1 titles, including the 2018 Japan Cup. Big disappointments often followed big victories, as clear favourite she ended only ninth in the 2019 Arima Kinen, got also beaten in the Yasuda Kinen on June 7. However, out of a five-month-break, the daughter of Lord Kanaloa defended her Tenno Sho (Autumn) title on November 1, will now run her last race in the Japan Cup. A victory would make Almond Eye the racehorse with the highest earnings in Japan ahead of Kitasan Black.

Glory Vase, like Almond Eye running in the colours of Silk Racing, won the Hong Kong Vase last year over 2,400 meters. Out of his winter break, the five-year-old son of Deep Impact disappointed on his seasonal debut in the Takarazuka Kinen, but after another four-month break he won the Kyoto Daishoten ahead of horses like Kiseki or Preform A Promise.

Curren Bouquetd'or finished runner-up in the 2019 Japan Cup, had already passed the line as second in the Oaks and the Shuka Sho last year, got also beaten by a nose in the Sankei Sho All on September 27. The 'eternal second' is still waiting for her first victory, but will surely not be underestimated again in the Japan Cup.

You Can Smile has been amongst the favourites in last year's Japan Cup and did not disappoint as fifth. The five-year-old entered the Copa Republica Argentina as favourite on November 8, but finished only fourth, had not seen a racecourse for six months though. He has an impressive finishing speed and might be able to surprise.

World Premier, a four-year-old son of Deep Impact, run only four races in his life so far, but already won on group 1 level, captured last year's St Leger (Kikuka Sho, 3.000 m). He did well in the 2019 Arima Kinen too, but then got injured and enters the Japan Cup from a one-year-break now. He will be ridden by the legendary jockey Yutaka Take.

Kiseki, runner-up to Almond Eye in the 2018 Japan Cup, ranks only as an outsider these days, although he is one of a few starters with international experience, he came seventh at last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Most recently he was only narrowly behind Glory Vase in the Kyoto Daishoten, but was well beaten as fifth in the Tenno Sho (Autumn).

Makahiki, the third horse from trainer Yasuo Tomomichi besides World Premier and You Can Smile, won the 2016 Japanese Derby and captured the Prix Niel at Chantilly, then disappointed as second favourite in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and hasn't won a race since. He got only eleventh on his last start in April too, but had surprised as 50:1 outsider when finished fourth in last year's Japan Cup.

Way To Paris will be the only foreign horse in the 2020 Japan Cup. Trained by the Italian Andrea Marcialis in Chantilly, the seven-year-old grey won the Grand Prix de Chantilly and the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud this summer, but had no chance in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. He will be outsider also in Tokyo, especially as the last time a foreign horse gained a place in the Japan Cup was back in 2006. Like Almond Eye, also Way To Paris will retire from racing after the Japan Cup.

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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Odds comparison: Racebets Betbird
  Contrail 2.1 2.0
  Almond Eye 3.25 3.0
  Daring Tact 4.5 5.0
  Glory Vase 17.0 21.0
  Curren Bouquetd'Or 26.0 23.0

You Can Smile 34.0 34.0

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