Japan Cup

Japan Cup

Group One Betting Guide
Date: Sunday, November 26, 2023
Location: Tokyo Racecourse, Japan
Prize Money: ¥1,085,000,000 ($12,191,011 AUD)
Distance: 2400m

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 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.

2024 Japan Cup odds

Markets for the 2024 Japan Cup are currently unavailable.

Best Japan Cup bookmakers

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, and any bookmaker worth their salt offers odds on the biggest race on the Japanese calendar.

United States Best Japan Cup Bookies

Best Japan Cup Bookies

2023 Japan Cup result

1stEquinox (-500)
2ndLiberty Island (-250)
3rdStars On Earth (+250)

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.

Japan Cup winners by country

  • Japan: 27
  • USA: 7
  • Ireland: 4
  • France: 1
  • New Zealand: 1
  • Australia: 1
  • Germany: 1

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

Japan Cup Past Winners
Year Japan Cup Past Winner
2023 Equinox
2022 Vela Azul
2021 Contrail
2020 Almond Eye
2019 Suave Richard
2018 Almond Eye
2017 Cheval Grand
2016 Kitasan Black
2015 Shonan Pandora
2014 Epiphaneia
2013 Gentildonna
2012 Gentildonna
2011 Buena Vista
2010 Rose Kingdom
2009 Vodka
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

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