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The countdown to one of the biggest days on the Japanese racing calendar is almost done with the 61st Arima Kinen to be run on Christmas Day at Nakayama racecourse near Tokyo.
The “dream race” looks sure to live up to its name again this year, with a number of factors combining to draw huge numbers of fans to the track. Even Santa Claus could be forgiven for taking the day off.
Race favorite Kitasan Black topped the 17-horse field of first-class international runners in this year’s Japan Cup by a comfortable 2-1/2-length margin, marking his sixth grade-race and third G1 victory after his 2015 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) and 2016 Tenno Sho (Spring) triumphs.
This is the fourth year in a row that a four-year-old captured the title. Among his eight career-wins, the Black Tide colt has now given trainer Hisashi Shimizu all of his three G1 victories. Meanwhile, jockey Yutaka Take claimed his 71st JRA-G1 victory, the first since the Tenno Sho (Spring) triumph also with Kitasan Black.
This afternoon’s 36th running of the time honoured Japan Cup at Fuchi racecourse in Tokyo has assembled an outstanding line up of local and international stayers.
Regarded as one of the toughest 2400m staying tests in the world, early betting on the Japan Tote suggests 2016 G1 Tenno Sho (Spring) winner Kitasan Black is the horse to beat ahead of Ryan Moore’s mount Real Steel .
Lightly raced German galloper Iquitos after settling in well to his new surroundings looks set to race well in Sunday’s G1 Japan Cup at Fuchu race course in Tokyo.
Iquitos was handed an invitation to run in the 36th Japan Cup following his easy win over fellow German raider Nightflower in the G1 Grosser Preis von Baden over 2400m at Baden-Baden in September.
2014 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) winner Nuovo Record won the Grade 3 Red Carpet Handicap on Thursday, Nov. 24, held at Del Mar.
After finishing 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, the 5-year-old daughter of Heart’s Cry bounced back strongly and edged race favorite Arles by a nose at the line to claim the 2,200-meter Red Carpet Handicap, a 10-horse field for fillies and mares.
The past 35 running of the Japan Cup have been won by 21 Japanese horses and the locals are favoured to continue their dominanve over three foreign challengers in Sunday’s premier international contest in Tokyo.
Alkaased was the last foreign runner to take home the Japan Cup trophy in 2005 before a run of 10 consecutive wins by Japanese stayers.
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