Pavel arrives to Japan for Grade 1 Champions Cup

The sole contenders for this year’s Grade 1 Champions Cup, U.S.-trained Pavel, arrived safely at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture on Wednesday.

The Leandro Mora-trained, 4-year-old colt was then transported to the quarantine facilities at the JRA Horseracing School Quarantine Center, where he arrived at 10:35 a.m., completing about a 17-hour journey from his home stable.

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“I think the horse is in fine condition,” said Andres Contreras, groom for Pavel.

“There aren’t any specific instructions from the trainer at this point, but he has told me to make sure the horse is eating well. We’ll monitor the horse and decide on his training menu from here on.”

Pavel will be the first foreign horse to run in the Champions Cup since Hong Kong’s Gun Pit in 2015. The Creative Cause colt won the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap this year and is fresh off a 10th-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic earlier this month.

The Champions Cup will be run on Sunday, Dec. 2 at Chukyo Racecourse, with a scheduled post time of 15:30 local time.