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Japan Cup tops list as world’s highest-rated race for 2023

3 minute read

Japan Cup has been designated as Longines World's Best Horse Race for the year 2023.

EQUINOX winning the Japan Cup.
EQUINOX winning the Japan Cup. Picture: RacingandSports

The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) has announced its list of the world's Top 100 Group 1 and Grade 1 races for 2023, and the Japan Cup in association with LONGINES, won with a dazzling performance by Equinox (named Longines World's Best Racehorse of 2023).

The highest place previously achieved by a Japanese race since 2015, when the ranking of the world's G1 races took on its current format, was a third place for the 2020 Japan Cup. The 2023 Japan Cup being designated the highest-rated G1 of the world is a first for Japan.

The list includes G1 races from 11 countries and 39 racecourses, with first place going to the Japan Cup with its rating of 126.75. Second was the United Arab Emirates' Dubai Sheema Classic (126.50), and third place went to France's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (124.75).

Japan (as shown in the table below) had a total of 15 races ranked within the top 100. In terms of number of races making the list, Japan ranked fourth in the world, following Australia with 24 races, and the United States and the U.K. with 17 races each.

Japanese races ranked among the world top 100

Ranking Race Name (race rating)
1 Japan Cup (126.75)
5 Takarazuka Kinen (124.25)
6 Tenno Sho (Autumn) (123.50)
8 Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix)(123.00)
41 Yasuda Kinen (118.50)
50 Osaka Hai (117.75)
55 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby),
Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) (117.50)
63 Mile Championship (117.25)
78 Tenno Sho (Spring), Champions Cup (116.50)
93 February Stakes, Tokyo Daishoten (116.00)
97 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas),
Victoria Mile (115.75)

Comments of JRA President and CEO: Masayoshi Yoshida
"First of all, on behalf of the Japan Racing Association, I would like to say what a great honor it is to be awarded last year's Japan Cup as the Longines World's Best Horse Race. It is the first time this honor has been bestowed upon a Japanese race. Also, in regard to Equinox being named as Longines World's Best Racehorse, and his performances in Dubai and in Japan, all of which were spectacular, I would like to once again extend from the bottom of my heart my congratulations to everyone involved with this horse. I am certain that their efforts, hardships and the pressures they were under must have been tremendous. In the late 1970s, the JRA put forward our aim to improve the quality of Japanese racehorses competing on the world stage. It led to establishing the Japan Cup in 1981. In the Longines World's Top 100 G1 Races of 2022, there were no Japanese races to be in the top 10. This time, four Japanese races were listed and, furthermore, the Japan Cup topped the list. We recognize that the rise in the level of Japanese horse-racing as a whole is due to the long standing efforts of the horsemen as well as it is due to the passion of our customers who love horse-racing. We will continue to strive to provide attractive horse-racing as the international sports entertainment that it is."

Japan Racing Association

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