Horse Racing
Japan Cup – Form Comments

22/11/2018 16:38

G1 – 2400m – Turf

1 Almond Eye The 2018 Filly Triple Crown winner is set to be the star of Sunday’s Japan Cup. Unbeaten in 2018 racing between 1600m – 2400m, three starts against her own sex. She has her sire’s speed and her mother’s stamina, which will make her the one to beat this week.
2 Happy Grin A three-year-old NAR horse has shown remarkable range in distance and surface. Running well of both dirt and turf not to mention distances from 1200m to 2000m. Japan Cup will be a big ask for the colt who is stepping into the JRA G1 sphere for the first time and going 2400m for the first time.
3 Satono Diamond Brilliant until last fall, the G1 winning son of Deep Impact finally made his way back to the winners’ circle in his last start in a G2. He will need to improve greatly from that performance, however, to compete against Almond Eye’s final fractions.
4 Satono Crown After a solid 2017, since last year’s Japan Cup, the two time G1 winner hasn’t been able to regain his form in four starts, finishing far back in the field each time.
5 Mikki Swallow The colt showed he preferred the longer distances, breaking his maiden over 2200m. While this is his third try at a G1 race, the 2017 2200m G2 St. Lite Kinen winner will need to bring a whole new level of game on Sunday. Best finish of the year was 2nd in 2200m G2 American Jockey Club Cup in January. He tends to come from behind and has never raced at Tokyo, a track that will suit his running style the best.
6 Thundering Blue A very game gelding who has already had a solid campaign back home, he comes into the race with much better form than his fellow foreign invader Capri. While not a classic winner like Capri, the hard knocking gelding has placed in two G1s this year alone in two different countries as well as winning a G2 and G3 in the process. He also seems to handle firmer ground, which will be essential for any foreign raider in Japan.
7 Sounds Of Earth The old soldier won’t be particularly popular among punters this year after having not placed in any race since coming in second in the Japan Cup two years ago. His time might be coming to an end but he often puts in a solid effort.
8 Kiseki After a disappointing end of 2017 and early 2018, the four-year-old son of Rulership seems to be regaining form. With a change of running style, the colt has been going to the lead or just off the lead in his past two starts to hold on for third each time. With Win Tenderness and Kiseki in the game there will hopefully be a solid pace in the Japan Cup this year.
9 Cheval Grand Last year’s Japan Cup winner is back again, but lost his jockey, Hugh Bowman, due to a suspension back home. The pair ran second together in April’s G1 Tenno Sho Spring (3200m). The horse took the summer off after that and came back to the track in October for the G2 Kyoto Daishoten (2400m) to run 4th. That run should leave him well primed for the Japan Cup, now with Cristian Demuro on board.
10 Ganko Making his second try at a G1, the five-year-old son of Nakayama Festa has been all over the map in distance and surface but found a knack for 2400m earlier this year. The 3200m G1 Tenno Sho Spring proved too long but he has been working his way back into shape since a summer break. Likely to be seen off the pace.
11 Suave Richard Winner of the G1 Osaka Hai (2000m) in April. In the Tenno Sho Autumn (2000m), he got knocked out of it at the start. Hopefully, the large chestnut will get away better this time. He is as game as they come, especially over longer distances like the Japan Cup.
12 Capri The Galileo colt, if in his 2017 G1 St Leger Stakes (2905m) form could be a formidable unknown component to this year’s race. If he can take to the much firmer ground of Tokyo, he has the pedigree to run well. Unplaced in three starts since winning a G3 in April is rather worrisome, but the lack of rain might hurt him more.
13 Noble Mars The five-year-old son of Japan Cup winner Jungle Pocket has done quite well at the stayer distances in Japan, running gamely almost every time. His big moment of the year so far was finishing third in the 2200m G1 Takarazuka Kinen, beating at least three of the horses in this race. He ran well this May at Tokyo, placed in some stakes races.
14 Win Tenderness The five-year-old son of Company could be the pace in the race this Sunday as he has been so in three of his past four races. This is his G1 debut but a solid pace should benefit many of the better horses in this race.