Five contenders arrive safely from overseas for Japan Cup (G1)
Cirrus Des Aigles
Five more of the total nine foreign-based runners for this year's Japan Cup arrived safely in Japan on Thursday, Nov. 17. The five joined winner of last Sunday's Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup (G1) Snow Fairy, who is also set to run in the Nov. 28 Invitational. Arriving early Thursday at Narita International Airport east of Tokyo were three horses from France -- Cirrus Des Aigles, Marinous and Mores Wells. Joining them later in the day were Britain's Dandino and Ireland's Joshua Tree. All five were transported to the JRA Horse Racing School Quarantine Center in Shiroi, Chiba Prefecture.
The three French-trained horses arrived at Narita shortly before 7:30 a.m. and were at Shiroi by 11 a.m. It was a relatively short journey of only 17 hours total. Zoe Gargouland, groom for the 4-year-old gelding Cirrus Des Aigles, said, "he was very relaxed after the journey and he's on the up and up." Gargouland said work plans had yet to be decided. Cirrus Des Aigles is trained by Corine Barande-Barbe. He is winner of this year's Prix Dollar (G2). Marinous, a 4-year-old colt, was also said to be in good shape. "It was a good trip," said assistant trainer Regis Barbedette. "We'll gradually increase his work load from the second day." Marinous, winner of this year's Grand Prix de Deauville (G2) is trained by Frederic Head. Mores Wells, a British-bred 6-year-old, had a smooth journey, according to groom Aymeric Candas. "We plan to slow things slowly and up the pace from Sunday," Candas said. Mores Wells, who is trained by Richard Gibson captured the Stockholm Cup International (G3) in Sweden this year and was runnerup in the Canadian International (G1).
Arriving shortly after 12:30 in the afternoon were Dandino and Joshua Tree. They both reached the quarantine facilities just before 4 p.m. Dandino, a 3-year-old colt was attended to by groom Lynn Ward. "There was no change in his condition from the start," Ward said. "We plan to only handwalk him (Thursday) and gradually up the pace as we watch how he does." Dandino was second in the Gordon Stakes (G3) in England this year. He has four wins in eight outings and is trained by James Given. The Aidan O'Brian-trained Joshua Tree, another 3-year-old, captured the Canadian International Stakes (G1) this year and is now 3 for 6. Joshua Tree qualifies for a winning bonus of 100 million yen in the Japan Cup, 40 million yen for finishing second, 25 million yen for third. Assistant trainer Thomas Comerford said, "It was a long journey, but he hasn't shown any change." Comerford said the colt would be galloped from Thursday as he awaited further instructions from O'Brien.