Sunday, November 29, 2009

2009 Japan Cup Dirt

A total of 32 horses including Tizway have been nominated for the Japan Cup Dirt to be run on Sunday, December 6 at Hanshin Racecourse.

Vodka thrilling Japan Cup victory

On the finale day at 2009 Tokyo meeting, Vodka held off Oken Bruce Lee by a nose to win the Japan Cup in photo finish on Sunday afternoon. A 1 1/2-length behind the runner-up, Red Desire was second with Conduit(IRE) finishing another 1 1/4-length back in fouth. Christophe Lemaire was the winning jockey to complete the 2,400-meter trip in 2 minutes 22.40 seconds on firm grass.

Having taken a good position at fourth place early on, Vodka pulled away from the pack outside 200 meters from home right after Lemaire gave her a go-sign. Oken Bruce Lee with Hiroyuki Uchida up came from the last to challenge and rapidly got up close in her at an evey step he made. The two went toe-to-toe with each other to the finish line.

Conduit, who got off a poor start, had a good finish, but never threatened the first two at the end.

Quotation from C. Lemaire:
I was not sure we got the winning post because Uchida's horse(Oken Bruce Lee) finished so fast at the line. She was calm and the pace was good enough for her. I kept her energy to save the last 200 meters. I was confident with her.

Complete finishing order: Vodka, Oken Bruce Lee, Red Desire, Conduit(IRE), Air Shady, Eishin Deputy, Just As Well(USA), Meiner Kitz, Reach the Crown, Never Bouchon, Scintillo(GB), Cosmo Bulk, Inti Raimi and Intepatation(USA)(dead heat), Asakusa Kings, March Side(USA) and Yamanin Kingly

Vodka has now gained seven grade one victories at JRA with 10 wins in 25 career starts. Her career earnings improved 1.3+ billion jp yen.

You can see the video(in Japanese) on YouTube at

Summer Bird out of Japan Cup Dirt

Summer Bird(USA) was out of the Japan Cup Dirt due to injury. The 3-year-old colt suffered injury on his right foreleg Sunday morning.

The details are on JRA English web site at

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vodka favorite for Japan Cup 2009

After closing Saturday betting round, Vodka has been installed as the 3.8 favorite for the Japan Cup. This could be her last chance to get the JC title. She finished third and fourth in the last 2 JC runnings.

Conduit was the second favorite at odds of 5.0. The 4-year-old colt will go to stud next spring at Big Red Farm in Niikappu, Hokkaido, Japan.

Oken Bruce Lee was at 5.9 for third favorite with Screen Hero at 7.8 for fourth favorite. Reach the Crown was fifth favorite at 8.2 followed by Red Desire at 8.3. The rest of the field was 10.0 or higher.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Contenders of Japan Cup 2009

Asakusa Kings(White Muzzle - Croupier Star, by Sunday Silence)
Has plenty of stamina; his best form was when he won Kikuka Sho two seasons ago; picked up a couple of grade scores earlier this season; well-beaten in Tenno Sho Autumn on his latest running; this longer trip could produce a better result, but needs rapid improvement.

Never Bouchon(Marvelous Sunday - Pearl Necklace, by Mill Reef)
On and off performer on the grade level; beat Air Shady to win AJC Hai in late-January; this will be his first start since May 3 when he had a disappointing result in Tenno Sho Spring; obviously, a tough task on this highest-level competition.

Air Shady(Sunday Silence - Air Deja Vu, by Northern Dancer)
Aged horse who has yet to win this season, but put his name on the board for some earnings; did not come out right in Tenno Sho Autumn; one of the outsiders.

Eishin Deputy(French Deputy - Eishin McAllen, by Woodman)
Last year's Takarazuka Kinen(g1) winner; had no impact on Tenno Sho Autumn and All Comers in his last 2 starts having sidelined for more than a year; has yet to win beyond 2,200 meters, but his supporters expect him to produce a much better run this time.

Vodka(Tanino Gimlet - Tanino Sister, by Rousillon)
Most popular horse and great mare who has scored g1 every year since she debuted at age 2; won Japanese Derby(which is the same distance and course as Japan Cup) two seasons ago, but her recent runs indicated that she prefers a high-paced race such as a 1,600-meter trip; a key to success will be how she runs in early stage to save energy for the stretch; it will be interesting that Christophe Lemaire teams up with her for the first time; the French jockey has regulary ridden in Japan since 2002.

Red Desire(Manhattan Cafe - Great Sunrise, by Caerleon)
One of the best fillies in the 3-year-old division; finally gained g1 victory in Shuka Sho last outing after finishing second at a couple of filly classics earlier this season; untested against top older horses and how she runs this Sunday could be a tough assignment, but certainly she deserves to lineup in this strong field.

Just As Well(USA)(A.P. Indy - No Matter What, by Nereyev)
Has exclusively run at North America with a couple of grade victories this season; showed good gallops at Tokyo main course on 11/26; the long stretch of Tokyo course will suit him for a strong finish.

Meiner Kitz(Chief Bearhart - Takara Kanna, by Soccer Boy)
Showed good form earlier this season with surprising victory in Tenno Sho Spring; ran poorly in Kyoto Daishoten at his sole start in this Fall season; the JC distance may be a bit shorter than his best trip; do not underestimate him, but certainly one of the outsiders.

Reach the Crown(Special Week - Crownpiece, by Seattle Slew)
Has a strong front style which gave him a couple of classic runner-ups; recently delivered second inKikuka Sho last month; skipped Mile Championship to run this Sunday; definitely stay the JC distance and attempts to bring his stamina into this prestigious race.

Oken Bruce Lee(Jungle Pocket - Silver Joy, by Silver Deputy)
Winner of 2008 Kikuka Sho who finished fifth, not far behind Screen Hero, in last year's JC; got winning form in Kyoto Daishoten and followed up with fourth in Tenno Sho Autumn in his latest run; could produce a better result than last year with the best run of form.

Marsh Side(USA)(Gone West - Colonial Play, by Pleasant Colony)
Returns to Japan for revenging a defeat without run, scratch of 2008 JC due to fever; demoted to 4th from 1st in Northern Dancer Turf S on his 2 starts back; has not won since 2008 Canadian Inernational S.

Scintillo(GB)(Fantastic Light - Danseuse de Soir, by Thatching)
Decent stayer who has spent a busy season, registering 3 wins in 2009; the grass will be suitable, but he has to handle a faster pace; the soft ground would be appreciated.

Yamanin Kingly(Agnes Digital - Yamanin Arena, by Sunday Silence)
Had been good 2009 campaign with Sapporo Kinen victory until this colt was well-beaten in his last 2 starts; has yet to have a big impact on grade one event; an outsider

Inti Raimi(Special Week - Andes Lady, by Northern Taste)
Has not done anything in 4 starts this season; finished far behind in a lower class last outing; one of the longshot outsiders.

Interpatation(USA)(Longfuhr - Idealistic Cause, by Habitony)
Turf Classic Invitational S winner who has exclusively raced in US circuit; he is in shape according to connections; has to deal with firm gound at possibly fast-pace race.

Conduit(IRE)(Dalakhani - Well Head, by Sadler's Wells)
Multiple group/grade one winner in Europe and US; considered one of the best runners in Europe with a couple of g1 glory including King George VI this season; comes here off a back-to-back victory in BC Turf; runs well at this distance and could handle a fast-paced race on Japanese firm ground; production of his bullet finish is expected; could be one of the major contenders.

Cosmo Bulk(Zagreb - Iseno Tosho, by Tosho Boy)
Veteran NRA runner; this will be his 6th JC run; his best JC finish was second in 2004; his best performance was when winning Singapore International 3 years ago; a longshot outsider.

Screen Hero(Grass Wonder - Running Heroine, by Sunday Silence)
Defending champion who had not done well this season until he finished second behind Company in Tenno Sho Autumn; the extended distance at his favorite course would be welcomed; No surprise that he reproduces a big run like last year; Reunite with Italian rider Mirco Demuro would be helpful very much.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Field of 2009 Japan Cup draws

A field of the 2009 Japan Cup has been drawn on Thursday afternoon. A total of 18 horses will go for the world-famous race in Japan.

The 29th running of the Japan Cup, Grade One
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Tokyo - 10th Race 3:20 p.m. JST
3-year-olds and upward international 2,400-meter turf left-handed
weight: 57 kgs for 4yo+, 55 kgs for 3yo, fillies and mares allowed 2 kgs
Added money(in million jp yen):
1st; 250, 2nd; 100, 3rd; 63, 4th; 38, 5th; 25

Horse#(pp)/Horse Name/AgeSex/Rider
1/Asakusa Kings/5h/Yasunari Iwata
2/Never Bouchon/6h/Hiroshi Kitamura
3/Air Shady/8h/Hiroki Goto
4/Eishin Deputy/7h/Keita Tosaki
5/Vodka/5m/Christophe Lemaire
6/Red Desire/3f/Hirofumi Shii
7/Just As Well(USA)/6h/Julian Leparoux
8/Meiner Kitz/6h/Masami Matsuoka
9/Reach the Crown/3c/Yutaka Take
10/Oken Bruce Lee/4h/Hiroyuki Uchida
11/Marsh Side(USA)/6h/Javier Castellano
12/Scintillo(GB)/4c/Gerald Mosse
13/Yamanin Kingly/4c/Yuichi Shibayama
14/Inti Raimi/7h/Christophe Soumillon
15/Interpatation(USA)/7g/David Cohen
16/Conduit(IRE)/4c/Ryan Moore
17/Cosmo Bulk/8h/Fuyuki Igarashi
18/Screen Hero/5h/Mirco Demuro

Note that the Japanese Derby winner Logi Universe was out of the Japan Cup due to suffering leg problem. The details of his injury has not been announced yet.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

2009 Japan Cup cast

The 2009 Japan Cup cast looks like this:

Local horses:
Air Shady, Asakusa Kings, Cosmo Bulk, Eishin Deputy, Logi Universe, Meiner Kitz, Never Bouchon, Oken Bruce Lee, Reach the Crown, Red Desire, Screen Hero, Vodka and Yamanin Kingly[in alphabetical order]

Foreign horses:
Conduit(IRE), Interpatation(USA), Just As Well(USA), Marsh Side(USA) and Scintillo(GB)[in alphabetical order]


Brief history
The Japan Cup was inaugurated in 1981 as the first international race in Japan. Since then, it has been successfully run and become a world-famous event. There are a number of premier runners from Europe, North America and other areas to have taken part in this race.


Past winners
2008 Screen Hero
2007 Admire Moon
2006 Deep Impact
2005 Alkaased
2004 Zenno Rob Roy
2003 Tap Dance City
2002* Falbrav
2001 Jungle Pocket
2000 T.M.Opera O
1999 Special Week
1998 El Condor Pasa
1997 Pilsudski
1996 Singspiel
1995 Lando
1994 Marvelous Crown
1993 Legacy World
1992 Tokai Teio
1991 Golden Pheasant
1990 Better Loosen Up
1989 Horlicks
1988 Pay the Butler
1987 Le Glorieux
1986 Jupiter Island
1985 Symboli Rudolf
1984 Katsuragi Ace
1983 Stanerra
1982 Half Iced
1981 Mairzy Doates
*- at Nakamaya


4-year-olds have a good record, registering 7 firsts in the last 10 years, while 7-year-olds or older have not won. Jungle Pocket in 2001 is the only 3-year-old winner in the last decade, but 3-year-olds have placed second 4 times during that period. The last winning female was Horlicks in 1989.

Big surprises are rare. In the last 10 runnings, favorites have placed 3 firsts, 2 seconds and 4 thirds. Last year's winner Screen Hero was the longest winner as 9th pick(paying 4,100 jp yen), followed by Falbrav as 9th pick(2,050 jp yen).

The biggest winning margin was 9 lengths recorded by Tap Dance City on Nov.30, 2003. The race record was 2 minutes 22.10 seconds set by Alkaased on Nov. 27, 2005.
Frankie Dettori is the most successful jockey, riding three JC winners(Alkaased, Falbrav and Singspiel). Michael Stoute is only the trainer to strike twice(Pilsudski and Singspiel).

Tizway arrives in Japan

On Monday, November 23, Tizway(USA) arrived in Japan from US to participate in the Japan Cup Dirt.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Compay wins Mile Championship in farewell race

Company wrapped up his glorious career with the Mile Championship victory on Sunday afternoon. He won the grade one 1,600-meter event by a 1 1/4-length from rank outsider Meiner Falke. Another neck further back Sahpresa(USA) ran third with Captain Thule finishing a nose behind in fourth.

Outside 100 meters to go, Meiner Falke hung on tough to remain the leading position, but Company drew near the leader. Company made a final effort, just like the Tenno Sho Autumn, as jockey Norihiro Yokoyama asked him to do so. In the blink of an eye, he just quickened up into the front. Sahpresa and Captain Thule showed a good stretch run on the outside, but neither of the two were able to catch Meiner Falke.

Yokoyama said, "He is an excellent racehorse. Without hesitation, I took him to run on the inside in the stretch. The leader was in front of us, but I was sure we got ahead of him."

Company, a 8-year-old son of Miracle Admire and the Northern Taste mare Brilliant Very, owned by H.Kondo and trained by H.Otonashi, had 35 career starts. 12 of them were the winning run. With the first prize of the Mile Championship, his career earnings brought to 939+ million jp yen. Northern Farm was the breeder of the bay horse. He will go to stud at Shadai Stallion Station in Hokkaido.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Field of 2009 Mile Championship

Company, coming off the Tenno Sho Autumn victory in good style, is likely to be favorite for the Mile Championship for which 18 horses have been entered. It will be his farewell race.
Other horses to watch will be Fuji Stakes winner Absolute and Zarema, winner of the Keisei Hai Autumn Handicap.

The foreign entries are Eva's Request(IRE) and Sahpresa(USA). They can get into contention in the very final stage if they handle a speed race.

The 26th running of the Mile Championship, Grade One
Sunday, November 22, 2009
11th Race at Kyoto
3yo+ international 1,600-meter turf right-handed

H#(pp)/Horse Name/AgeSex/Weight(in kgs)/Rider
1/Eva's Request(IRE)/4f/55/Alan Munro
2/Toreno Jubilee/6h/57/Andreas Suborics
3/Maruka Shenck/6h/57/Yuichi Shibayama
4/Company/8h/57/Norihiro Yokoyama
5/Smile Jack/4c/57/Kosei Miura
6/Fine Grain/6h/57/Hideaki Miyuki
7/Absolute/5h/57/Katsuharu Tanaka
8/Fifth Petal/3c/56/Christophe Lemaire
9/Captain Thule/4c/57/Yuga Kawada
10/Suzuka Causeway/5h/57/Hiroki Goto
11/Zarema/5m/55/Hiroyuki Uchida
12/Hikaru Ozora/5h/57/Christophe Soumillon
13/Meiner Falke/4c/57/Ryuji Wada
14/Strong Garuda/3c/56/Yuichi Fukunaga
15/Sahpresa(USA)/4f/55/Olivier Peslier
16/San Carlo/3c/56/Yutaka Yoshida
17/Live Concert(IRE)/5g/57/Yasunari Iwata
18/Sandalphon/6h/57/Hirofumi Shii


Two JC horses arrive in Japan

On November 19, Conduit(IRE) and Scintillo(GB) arrived in Japan to run in the 2009 Japan Cup.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Two US-trained horses arrive in Japan

Marsh Side(USA) and Summer Bird(USA) arrived in Japan from US today.

Marsh Side is scheduled to run in the Japan Cup at Tokyo on November 29, while Summer Bird will take on the Japan Cup Dirt, held at Hanshin on December 6.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two JC horses arrive in Japan

On Monday, November 16, Interpatation(USA) and Just As Well(USA) to run in the 2009 Japan Cup arrived in Japan from US.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Outsiders finish first and second in QE II Cup

Having unplaced in the Kyoto Daishoten last time out, the 77.1 outsider Queen Spumante had a wire-to-wire victory in the 2,200-meter Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup this afternoon at Kyoto. She won it by a 1 1/2-length from another outsider T M Precure(91.6). It was one of the most surprising results in the history of JRA g1 races.

Third was, another neck behind, Buena Vista(1.6 favorite) with Shalanaya(IRE)(10.4 third favorite) fourth. Hiroyasu Tanaka rode the first g1 winner as he got into the winning post in 2 minutes 13.60 seconds on turf.

Queen Spumante with T M Precure right behind her led the field of 18 fillies and mares. Before the final turn, the two opened up a huge lead and reached the line in the same order.

Buena Vista performed the fastest finish with 32.90 seconds in the last 600 meters, but it was not enough to catch the first two.


Two foreign horses to run in next week Milechampionship

Eva's Request(IRE) and Sahpresa(USA) will run in Milechampionship(g1) to be held at Kyoto on November 22, 2009.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Buena Vista favored for QE II Cup

As of Saturday, November 14, Buena Vista has been installed as the 1.8 favorite for Sunday's Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup at Kyoto. Broad Street was the 7.9 second favorite followed by Shalanaya 10.1 third favorite.

The 18 fillies and mares will go to post at 3:40 p.m. JST.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Field of 2009 QE II Cup

Buena Vista attempts to redeem her reputation when she faces the 17 rivals in Sunday's Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup at Kyoto. The dual grade one winner was demoted to third from second for interference on her previous run.

Shalanaya, the only foreign entry, comes here off group one victory of Prix de l'Opera in her home course at Longchamp. No foreign horse has yet to win this race, but she could have a good chance to make history.

The 34th running of the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup, Grade One
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Kyoto Race-11 3:40 pm JST
3yo+ f&m international 2,200-meter turf right-handed

Horse#(pp)/Horse Name/AgeSex/Weight(in kgs)/Rider Name
1/Wedding Fujiko/5m/56/Takanori Kikuzawa
2/Meisho Beluga/4f/56/Kenichi Ikezoe
3/Celebrita/4f/56/Yasunari Iwata
4/Germinal/3f/54/Yuichi Fukunaga
5/Little Amapola/4f/56/Christophe Soumillon
6/Piena Venus/5m/56/Yoshihiro Furukawa
7/Queen Spumante/5m/56/Hiroyasu Tanaka
8/Kawakami Princess/6m/56/Norihiro Yokoyama
9/Bravo Daisy/4f/56/Kenichi Syono
10/Shalanaya(IRE)/3f/54/Christophe Lemaire
11/T M Precure/6m/56/Shigefumi Kumazawa
12/Broad Street/3f/54/Shinji Fujita
13/Sanrei Jasper/7m/56/Yoshiyasu Nanba
14/Nishino Blue Moon/5m/56/Hiroshi Kitamura
15/Mikrokosmos/3f/54/Yutaka Take
16/Buena Vista/3f/54/Katsumi Ando
17/Mood Indigo/4f/56/Katsuharu Tanaka
18/Rain Dance/5m/56/Kota Fujioka

Foreign invitees of 2009 Japan Cup

The following two European runners have been accepted to the Japan Cup invitation, JRA revealed on Nov.13th.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Foreign invitees of 2009 Japan Cup

The three horses who have been accepted as the foreign invitees of the 2009 Japan Cup are as follows:
Interpatation(USA), Just As Well(USA) and Marsh Side(USA)

As of Nov.10th, the Japan Cup Dirt has the two foreign invitees, Summer Bird(USA) and Tizway(USA).

Eva's Request(IRE) schduled to run in the Milechampionship arrived in Japan from England on Nov.10th.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Wonder Acute makes appeal in Musashino S

Wonder Acute made a big appeal to public bettors toward the Japan Cup Dirt as he won the 1,600-meter Musashino Stakes at Tokyo on Sunday afternoon.
Having grabbed the lead before the bend, Wonder Acute with Katsumi Ando up galloped the rest of the way for posting a 1 3/4-length victory in 1 minute 35.50 seconds on dirt surface.

Wonder Acute, a 3-year-old bay colt by Charismatic out of the Pleasant Tap mare Wonder Heritage, has won six in 11 career starts.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Shalanaya arrives in Japan

Shalanaya(IRE) arrived in Japan from France on Thursday, Nov. 5 to run in the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup, held at Kyoto on Sunday, Nov. 15th. The 3-year-old filly exercised at Miki Horse Land Park on Friday morning.


Tokyo Racecourse hosts the Musashino Stakes(g3), a major prep for the Japan Cup Dirt(g1), on Saturday, Nov. 7. The 16 horses will run over 1,600 meters on dirt.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Company achieves long-time ambition in Tenno Sho

Company achieved a long-time ambition when he won the Tenno Sho Autumn on Sunday afternoon. This was the first g1 victory in his 13th try and he became the oldest horse to win the flat grade one race in JRA racing history. Before him, no 8-year-horse or older has won any grade one flat race at JRA.

The Tenno Sho Autumn was led by Eishin Deputy and Captain Thule and Screen Hero followed, while Company with Norihiro Yokoyama up settled the middle of the 18-horse field.

Inside 200 meters to go, Company drew away from the rest. From there, Screen Hero and Vodka were the closest rivals to challenge, but neither of them were able to catch him. Company got the post in 1 minute 57.20 seconds. A 1 3/4-length behind, Screen Hero took second with another neck back Vodka third.

Company, a 8-year-old horse by Miracle Admire out of the Northern Taste mare Brillian Very, has now earned 835+ million jp yen with 11 wins in 34 career starts.