Japan Cup

JAPANESE racing is some of the most competitive in the world and the Japan Cup heads them all.

The 2400m group one is a true staying test and some of the world’s greatest thoroughbreds have traveled to Tokyo Racecourse to take on the best locals.

Held on the last Sunday in November, the US$5.8 million Japan Cup is one of the richest races in the world and it has attracted runners from Australia, New Zealand, North America and Europe.

The Japan Racing Association established the Japan Cup as an invitational event to help local horses have the opportunity to compete against the world’s best.

Japanese runners have dominated the race in recent history, but New Zealand and Australia have had success with Horlicks and Better Loosen Up.

Japan Cup bookmakers

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Punters from most countries around the world can bet on the Japan Cup.

The timing of the race sits well with Australian and New Zealand punters as it runs in the late afternoon on a Sunday.

2017 Japan Cup odds

Kitasan Black – $2.20
Satono Crown – $5
Winx – $6
Rey de Oro – $8
Highland Reel – $12
Santono Diamond – $12
Sciacchetra – $12
Real Steel – $12
Gold Actor – $14
Kiseki – $18
Soul Stirring – $21
Staphanos – $21
Albert – $21
Cliffs of Moher – $21
Boom Time – $21
Neorealism – $26
Cheval Grand – $26
Sounds of Earth – $26
Beach Patrol – $26
Santono Aladdin – $31
Guignol – $34

Japan Cup history

The Japan Cup hasn’t been around as long as many would have thought. The first edition of the Japan Cup was run in 1981 and was limited to horses from Japan, USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

It was won by American mare Mairzy Doates and North America subsequently scored the trifecta in the race.

The U.S again won in 1982 before restrictions were lifted on the likes of Europe. That resulted in immediate success for Ireland with Stanerra in 1983 and it was the first of five Irish-bred runners to win the Japan Cup.

Horlicks scored one of the most popular wins of the Japan Cup in 1989 for New Zealand and fellow ANZAC Better Loosen Up was quick to follow suit in 1990.

There have been some incredible Japanese-trained champions of the Japan Cup, which includes Zenno Rob Roy, Deep Impact, Gentildonna and Kitasan Black.

In 2013, Gentildonna became the first horse to win both back-to-back Japan Cups and also the first horse to win the Japan Cup twice.

That record could possibly be equaled by Kitasan Black in 2017.

Japan Cup race bonuses

The Japan Cup was the world’s second richest race until The Everest was introduced in 2017.

There is plenty of bonus money to be won, especially by the internationally-invited thoroughbreds. If a runner finishes in the first three after winning one of the following races, big bonuses are added to the existing stake money.

Cox Plate
Canadian International Stakes
Epsom Derby
Irish Derby
Prix du Jockey Club
Grand Prix de Paris
Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud
Dubai Sheema Classic
Dubai World Cup
International Stakes
Champion Stakes
Breeders’ Cup Classic

Japan Cup results history

1981 – Mairzy Doates
1982 – Half Iced
1983 – Stanerra
1984 – Katsuragi Ace
1985 – Symboli Rudolf
1986 – Jupiter Island
1987 – Le Glorieux
1988 – Pay the Butler
1989 – Horlicks
1990 – Better Loosen Up
1991 – Golden Pheasant
1992 – Tokai Teio
1993 – Legacy World
1994 – Marvelous Crown
1995 – Lando
1996 – Singspiel
1997 – Pilsudski
1998 – El Condor Pasa
1999 – Special Week
2000 – T M Opera O
2001 – Jungle Pocket
2002 – Falbrav
2003 – Tap Dance City
2004 – Zenno Rob Roy
2005 – Alkaased
2006 – Deep Impact
2007 – Admire Moon
2008 – Screen Hero
2009 – Vodka
2010 – Rose Kingdom
2011 – Buena Vista
2012 – Gentildonna
2013 – Gentildonna
2014 – Epiphaneia
2015 – Shonan Pandora
2016 – Kitasan Black

Japan Cup winners by country

Japan: 20
USA: 7
Ireland: 4
France: 1
New Zealand: 1
Australia: 1
Germany: 1

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