Probably the most prestigious horse race in Japan is the Japan Cup. Held on the last Sunday of November at Tokyo Racecourse in Fuchu, Tokyo, it is a 2400 meter race under weight for age conditions. A maximum of 18 horses are permitted to run on the turf.
Taking the lead in the betting for the Japan Cup is the lightly-raced three-year-old colt Danon Beluga. The Japanese-bred has only five starts and has only two wins. However, he has proven his mettle in three recent starts, including a strong fourth place finish in the Japanese Derby. The Derby was a key prep race for the Japan Cup. Danon Beluga will now step back up to a mile and a half.
The race is one of the signature international races of Japan, traditionally held on the last Sunday in November. The race carries a purse of over $7 million, which is equivalent to around $3.5 million in the United States. It has been won by Japanese trainers every year since 2005. A winner will pocket 400,000,000 Japanese Yen, or around $3 million.
Danon Beluga has proven his mettle at the distance and will be a threat to the field. His only loss in Tokyo came in the Japanese Derby in May. However, he will likely find the weight of history too much to overcome.
Another contender in the race is the German runner Tunnes, who has been getting plenty of international media attention for his performance. He won two straight 1 1/2 mile races in late August. He is a half-brother to Torquator Tasso, who won the Arc. He has been running well over easy ground in Germany.
Among the 'big three' at the Tokyo Cup in November is Alpinista. The daughter of Frankel has won a staggering eight consecutive Group 1 races. Her victory in the Yorkshire Oaks last month was a major milestone.
The Japanese Racing Association has a policy of attracting the world's top horses to Japan. They have set up bonuses for horses that win Group 1 races. The latest addition is Alpinista, who is a Listed winner at Goodwood and is now preparing for the Japan Cup.
Alpinista is a five-year-old grey mare owned by billionaire Kirsten Rausing. She has won a number of Group One races, including the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. She was bred by Kirsten Rausing and trained by Sir Mark Prescott.
Alpinista hasn't missed a beat since her journey to Tokyo. She has won a G1 race in Germany, a G2 race at Goodwood and a Listed race at Haydock. She also has a pair of Group 1 wins in France and has been unbeaten in eight runs since January 2021.
Prescott has always pointed out that Alpinista is a good-natured horse, and he hopes that she will stay that way at the Tokyo Cup. He has also placed her for a second Group 1 race.
Alpinista will compete in the Japan Cup on November 27. She is set to be the highest-profile local runner to compete in a Group One race in Tokyo in several years.
During the first decade of the Japan Cup, the United States has been a powerhouse. In the first 11 races, United States-owned Thoroughbreds have won four times.
However, in the last nine years, horses from Japan have won the race nine times. The United States has not won the Japan Cup since 1991.
This year's race will feature seventeen horses. The purse is estimated to be $5,200,000. It will be held at Fuchu, a western suburb of Tokyo. It will be run over 2,400 meters. It is the richest horse race in the world.
The Japan Racing Association (JRA) is the host of the 35th running of the Japan Cup. Longines is the official sponsor of the event. There will be a total of 14 Japanese representatives in the race. There are also two German representatives.
The race is the most important horse race in the world. It is held on the second Sunday in October. In recent years, the race has become more difficult to win. The quality of domestic stock has improved over the last several decades.
The race has been called the Japan Cup for good reason. It is the richest horse race in history. It was the first race to be open to overseas runners. The race has been won by some familiar names. The list includes Singspiel, Fleetstreet Dancer, and Mairzy Doates.
Golden Pheasant won the Japan Cup in 1991. He was a three-year-old at the time of his victory. He had raced in England, France, and the United States. He was conditioned by Charlie Whittingham, and rode by Gary Stevens. He beat Shaftesbury Avenue, an Australian-bred horse, and Magic Night, a French-bred horse.
TM Opera O is one of the best Japanese horses of the twentieth century. He won seven G1 races and was crowned the JRA Horse of the Year in 2000. His career earnings are surpassed only by fellow Japanese horse Kitasan Black.
TM Opera O was the world's top money earner when he retired. He earned US$9,466,254 in his career. He also topped the Japanese money list in 2000. After retiring, TM Opera O's earnings stood for 17 years until Arrogate beat him in 2017.
Opera O was bred by Opera House, who is based in Kentucky, and Kineusu Bokujo in Tokyo. He is out of an American-bred mare named Once Wed and a Meon Valley-bred son of Sadler's Wells. He is a grandson of Irish Oaks winner Kayf Tara, and a half-sister to Gr3 winner Bella Colora.
At age three, Opera O won the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas). He was also the runner-up in Tenno Sho (Japanese Spring Derby), the spring Emperor Cups, and the autumn Emperor Cups. At age four, Opera O was the champion older horse. He was undefeated in 2000. He joined Special Week as the only horse to win both Emperor Cups.
T M Opera O was also a champion on dirt, winning the Kyoto Daishoten on October 1. He finished second in Tenno Sho to Agnes Digital, and had three Grade 2 wins in 2001.
Probably the most prestigious racing event in Japan is the Japan Cup. Held at Tokyo Racecourse, it's the largest international racing event in Japan. The race has been the signature international race for the country for over 16 years. It's worth $3.8 million to win.
In the 21st running of the Japan Cup, 15 horses took to the track. The runner-up was T.M. Opera O, who finished second to the winner, Agnes Tachyon. The winner's time was 2 minutes 23.8 seconds.
The Japan Cup is worth the same amount of money to the winning horse as the G1 Arima Kinen, the most expensive race in Japan. But a lot of Japan's best 1 1/2 mile horses aren't in this year's competition.
The Japan Cup has been the best international racing event in Japan for the past 16 years. But in 2022, most of the best 1 1/2 mile horses will not be in the running. That's a big problem for foreign raiders.
The Japan Cup may be the most important racing event of the year, but there are other important races that can be run during this year's international meet. For example, the Emirates World Series Racing Championship is scheduled to be revised next year.
Aside from the Japan Cup, there is also the Japan Cup Dirt, a G1 race in which the average winner takes home about $400,000 in prize money.
VELA AZUL, trained by Kunihiko Watanabe, won the G1 Japan Cup at Tokyo racecourse on Sunday. A five-year-old son of Eishin Flash, he shook off local favourite Shahryar to win by three-quarters of a length.
Having only raced on turf once, Vela Azul was making his first attempt at the top level. His record consists of six wins and a second place, and his career rating is 123. He has been plagued by injuries in the past.
Trainer Watanabe aimed high for Vela Azul during the run-up to the Japan Cup. He thought the five-year-old had a strong aptitude for turf racing. Watanabe's decision paid off.
The Japan Cup is a prestigious international race. It has been held at Tokyo racecourse for 42 years. It is also a huge stage for trainers. Four international horses have been declared for the race.
Vela Azul has won four times since he debuted in March. He has been plagued with injuries in the past, but he has improved in recent months. Vela Azul has also gained experience on turf this year. His record stands at 22-6-4-5.
Vela Azul's dam is Vela Blanca (Kurofune), a two-time winner on dirt and a half-sister to Champion 3YO Filly in Japan in 2011. Her fourth dam is dual French classic heroine Madelia. The dam's sire is Eishin Flash, a winner of the G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby). His sire's other two sons are Japanese champions.