JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE
30th running of the Japan Cup
Thursday, November 25, 2010
JOSHUA TREE (IRE, C3, bay)
-walked 1/2 lap, jogged 400m, cantered 3/4 lap, walked, cantered strongly 3/4 lap, on dirt course [5F: 71.2 – 55.9 – 41.1 – 13.4]
(exercised from 7:20 to 7:52, ridden by Gosuke Motoki)
||: Thomas Comerford
||: Colm O'Donoghue
- Q: Why and when did you decide to race your horse in the Japan Cup this year?
- AT: Aidan decided after Canada that that's where he wanted to go with him—he planned it from the way he won in Canada. He's a fresh horse and he's only run three times this year. To train him for this time of the year was the plan for Aidan
- Q: After your horse capped off his two-year-old season with a group-race win and took a long break, has he progressed in his three starts this year as a three-year-old?
- AT: Very much so. Like his fourth (career) run this year after being out for a long time, he ran third in a grade race—he ran very well. The next time he stepped it up again, he progressed, we dropped him back to a mile and a half, and Colm won him in Canada, so he's progressing and probably there's more improvement coming from him.
- Q: How is his condition now after the traveling a long distance?
- AT: He's probably had much more time settling here than he had in Canada. He probably had a longer trip to Canada taking in all the travel time, and the time that he left his own stable to get to the stable in Toronto. Probably coming here was much faster and he had more time to get over his trip, and he's fitted in very well. You see him there on the track and nothing bothers him—he's in good shape.
- Q: He galloped on the turf yesterday, and you have worked him this morning on the dirt. Is he improving daily after his arrival in Japan?
- AT: It's pretty much the same as at home. He gives you what he has and he's lazy as well at the same time so you kind of have to make him do it, but that's his routine. Come race day when there's horses around him and he's in the field, he switches on and he knows what it's all about.
- Q: What are your expectations towards this Japan Cup, coming from the O'Brien stable that has many winners?
- AT: You never know what way it's going to be run, but he's run over most distances and he's very versatile and types of races, and different ways the races are run. Canada's race was probably run a bit slow for him, 'cause he was doing his best work in the finish. I'm sure that race would have brought him on a lot, so he should be able to build on that.
- Q: You were fifth to Snow Fairy's fourth in the St. Legers Stakes and you must be aware that Snow Fairy landed a grade-one win in Japan. Do you think Snow Fairy could have been a good reference to you?
- AT: Very much so. We all know how good Snow Fairy is and Joshua Tree probably didn't stay a mile and six, and his best trip is a mile and a half as we know now since Canada—probably his ideal trip. Finishing just behind Snow Fairy is very good indeed especially the way she won the last day and her winning in four lengths so it puts us in with a good shout.
- Q: You have two wins in two starts with the horse. What can you tell us about him?
- J: He's in very good shape. I rode him yesterday morning on the track and he moved great and he traveled really well. So I'm very happy with his progress.
- Q: How do you visualize his race development in the mile and a half race?
- J: It's a very strong group of horses in the race and the mile and a half—the pace of the race should be quite strong. But he's very versatile, he travels very well through his races I think which is very important, but he's quite adaptable to his races, it'll all depend on the pace of the race where I can place him, but he's very versatile.
- Q: Among the other horses, are there any that has drawn your attention?
- J: I give a massive respect to every horse in the race, but I don't want to really single out anything. I'm going to give everything the utmost respect and ride the race accordingly, and hopefully it can work out and be a bit different.
VOILA ICI (IRE, H5, gray)
-was transported to the Tokyo Racecourse today, leaving Shiroi Quarantine Center at 10:37 AM and arriving at the international stables at 12:29 PM.
||: Vittorio Caruso|
|Jockey||: Mirco Demuro|
- Q: When and why did you decide to race your horse in the Japan Cup this year?
- T: We already had the Japan Cup in mind early this year. His racing schedule was already formed with the assumption of racing in the Japan Cup since the beginning of this autumn.
- Q: Voila Ici has been at the quarantine stables up to today. How has he adjusted to his new environment and how is his condition?
- T: I've seen him at the quarantine, and I think he has adjusted and is being tuned up very well. If I were to rate him he would be nine out of ten at this point, so he will probably be 100 percent by race day.
- Q: What are your training plans up to the race?
- T: I'm thinking of having him do a 400-meter gallop, but I'll decide after seeing how he's doing tomorrow morning.
- Q: What are his strong points?
- T: He's a horse that's always a fighter.
- Q: What are your expectations for this horse in this race?
- T: Since my other horse (Misil) was sixth in the 1993 Japan Cup, it would be natural to hope for a better finish than that.
- Q: You have taken the reins from his third career start. What can you tell us about him?
- J: He's a fantastic horse and strives to win.
- Q: As a jockey who is very familiar with Japanese racing, how do you think your horse will like the turf here at Tokyo?
- J: I don't think he will face any problems with the grass.
- Q: What kind of race style do you have in mind at this point?
- J: The draw will probably not affect him—all we have to do is break well and see how the race develops.
- Q: Can you give a message to the many fans you have in Japan?
- J: I hope to run a race that will please you.
DANDINO (GB, C3, dark bay or brown)
-jogged 600m, walked, jogged 1/4 lap, cantered 3/4 lap, jogged 3/4 lap, on turf course
(exercised from 7:19 to 7:46, ridden by Paul Mulrennan)
||: Elite Racing Club (Anthony Hill)
||: James Given
||: Paul Mulrennan
- Q: What is the biggest reason to bring Dandino to the Japan Cup?
- O: It was an invitation from the Japanese racing authority, presumably because the horse has run so well—He's such a progressive horse. May I say that I'm extremely grateful to the Japanese racing authority for this invitation. Very many thanks. Arigato.
- Q: How do you feel being here in Japan with your horse?
- O: Quiet honestly, it is just a dream, and I have to keep pinching myself to believe that I'm actually here. Dandino has excelled all our expectations—I'm a very lucky owner. I've been very lucky for the last ten years with some quality horses—namely Soviet Song, a five-time group-one winner, and Penzance, who won a prestigious race at Cheltenham at the National Hunt Festival five or six years ago. I'm quite a newcomer to the racing scene, so I am very grateful to you all, and in fact, to racing and to Dandino for being here.
- Q: What is your reason to bring Dandino to the Japan Cup?
- T: Thank you very much for having us all here in the first place. The reason we came was because it's a fantastic race to be a part of, coming to run at a prestigious course like this in Tokyo and take on some very fine horses. As you could see, the horse has run very well for us back in the United Kingdom during the summer. There's a little bit of gap between his last run in the U.K. in September and his next run, which should be next May, so this race fitted very well into his development at this point in his life.
- Q: This is his first trip outside of Canada. Is every going as planned?
- T: Everything has gone well with the horse, the transport and getting him here (to Tokyo). He had to have two separate flights. First, he flew from the United Kingdom to Amsterdam. He then spent a night there and then flew from Amsterdam to Tokyo. His first flight, which was only an hour or so long, he was a little bit nervous, he sweat a little bit on that first flight, but having had that experience, for the main whole flight from Amsterdam to Tokyo he was very relaxed and took the flight very well. I've seen him for the first time this morning in two weeks and I'm very pleased with the way he looks. He looks very healthy, fit and tight. I'm very pleased with the way he looks.
- Q: How have you been keeping up with his conditioning in Japan?
- T: His conditioning is very good. My plan when bringing him out here was to do all the really fast work back in the United Kingdom and let him just do a steady, even work while he's being here—which is what we've been able to do. I'm very pleased the way the conditioning worked here and also in the quarantine center.
- Q: You've told us that he's most suited to fast track. Seeing him run at the Tokyo Racecourse, how do you feel about that?
- T: His form does suggest he's much better when it's a quicker ground. Two of his wins came this year at Epsom and the Royal Ascot on grounds that were fairly quick. (In the Gordon Stakes) In Goodwood, it was raining leading up to the race and watered the course, and while you may not have seen particular from the footage, the ground was just a little bit loose on the foot. And certainly in St. Leger, it had rained a lot. About 40 minutes before the race, there was a heavy downpour, about a centimeter of rain, which really got into the surface of the track and made it very loose. And I just don't think he's as effective when the ground is loose as he is on fast ground. He had a canter around the track this morning, and it's pretty quick ground but I think that suits the horse and he seemed very comfortable on it.
- Q: Do you have some messages to Japanese racing fans?
- T: We hope for the best and expect for the worst—that's an old saying in England. The record is that three-year-old have rarely won the race in the 29 runnings. That doesn't deter us. We think we've come here in good shape. We think we've got the right horse for the race. So we're hoping for as good a finish as we possibly can.
- Q: You've been partnering up with Dandino since his debut. What's your impression on the horse?
- J: I just want to say thanks for having us here, and it's great to be here. I've ridden Dandino in all his starts and he's done nothing but improve with every run. And it just hasn't had his ground the last couple of runs—the ground went against him—and that's a big part for us out here, it's going to be fast ground—he loves that ground and he seems in great form. His weight's good, he's traveled really good, and he felt really good this morning. I'm looking for a big run.
- Q: How did you feel when you rode him this morning?
- J: I felt great this morning. He was very laid-back and in great form. He's traveled really good and I couldn't be happier with him. It's a lovely track.
- Q: How would you race him on Sunday?
- J: Ideally, I'd just like to get a nice handy position and then get close to the rail as I can. Obviously, this is the toughest race he's run in and there are some great horses in this race. As long as we get around in one piece and safe, that's the main thing, but hopefully he run a big race.
FIFTY PROOF (CAN, G4, chestnut)
-walked 300m, cantered 1 lap, on turf course
[5F: 68.9 – 54.3 – 40.7 – 13.0]
(exercised from 7:18 to 7:32, ridden by Tyler Gaskin)
||: Ian Black
||: Justin Stein
- Q: When and why did you decide to run your horse in the Japan Cup?
- T: First of all, I really would like to thank JRA for inviting us here. After we ran in the Canadian International, we got an invitation and I thought that the firmer ground here would probably help him, so we decided to come.
- Q: This is his first time to be raced outside of Canada. How is his condition at the moment?
- T: He's traveled very well. He has held his weight very well and is eating well—and that's all you can ask of him when he's come that far. He's training well, so I think we're OK.
- Q: What are Fifty Proof's strengths? What kind of race do you expect him to run in the Japan Cup?
- T: I would expect that he'd be close. I really haven't looked at the form that closely and what speed horses there might be in there, but I'd like to be sitting close, but not on the lead, if possible.
- Q: Would he be raced differently in the Japan Cup than in his previous races.
- T: I think so. I mean, if they go slow enough, obviously, he will be on the lead, but I think that there'll be more pace here than in the last couple of races, where he was left on the lead not going particularly fast.
- Q: You've been riding Fifty Proof throughout his career. How do you expect him to perform this time?
- J: I expect a good performance from Fifty Proof. He's developing into a very descent racehorse and a racehorse of high-caliber. We have hopes that he'll prove that in the Japan Cup.
- Q: This summer, he kept winning and now he's taking on a challenge of a grade-one race. In what parts do you think he has made improvements?
- J: He's performance has steadily gotten better. He's run against stronger competition each race, and he's proved to fit with that type of a racehorse. He just keeps developing and keeps getting better.
- Q: In the Japan Cup, there will be some horses Fifty Proof has competed with in the Canadian International Stakes and also some other strong Japanese horses. How do you imagine the race will develop?
- J: It's hard to say at this point. I haven't had a good look at the race and the type of styles of the racehorses in the race, but we'll be sitting fairly close—it depends all on the fractions that are set. If it's an extremely slow race, we could find ourselves on the lead. He's naturally quick from the gate and he's easy to position. I'll have a forward-position and avoid a lot of traffic.
Cirrus des Aigles
CIRRUS DES AIGLES (FR, G4, bay)
-jogged 400m, galloped 1,200m, on dirt course
[6F: 86.2 – 70.9 – 56.7 – 42.2 – 13.3]
(exercised from 7:20 to 7:35, ridden by Zoe Gargoulaud)
||: Jean Jacques Poincelet
||: Franck Blondel
- Q: What is the major reason for participating in the Japan Cup and since when have you included the Japan Cup in your program?
- AT: I decided to participate after he recovered well from his last start. He was in good form so we decided to participate as we were also interested in the Japan Cup.
- Q: How about his travel to Japan? How is his condition now? Is he fit?
- AT: Yes, he's in very good form and we just worked him out. We did not have a very heavy program. We're just maintaining his good condition
- Q: Will you be giving him a workout tomorrow?
- AT: I decided to give him his last canter tomorrow because the jockey wasn't here to ride him, but we'd like the jockey to canter him on the grass. This racecourse has ups and downs, which the horse has not experienced, so it would be good for both the rider and the horse to get the feel of the turf.
- Q: What are some outstanding points of this horse? And what are your aspirations towards the race?
- AT: Everything about him is outstanding. He's in very good form, and of course, we have every expectation for him to win the race—he's a tough horse to beat.
- Q: Having ridden him since last season, how would you evaluate this gelding?
- J: He is very easy to handle and generous, which I think is very much an advantage, so we're hoping to place well in the Japan Cup.
- Q: How do you think the grass and the going will suit your horse?
- J: I don't think there is no problem about his aptitude to the surface though I will know for sure when I ride him tomorrow.
- Q: How do you imagine yourself in the coming race?
- J: I'm hoping for a good draw and to keep close to Soumillon's horse (Buena Vista) and hopefully beat the filly.
MARINOUS (FR, C4, dark bay or brown)
-jogged 400m, galloped 1,200m, on dirt course
[6F: 84.1 – 68.0 – 55.1 – 40.0 – 12.9]
(exercised from 7:20 to 7:35, ridden by Aurelien Malenfant)
||: Gerard Larrieu
||: Frederic Head
||: Davy Bonilla
- Q: What is the major reason for bringing Marinous to the Japan Cup and when did you make the decision?
- T: We decided to run Marinous in the Japan Cup following the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. We were requested quite strongly by the owner—he wished strongly to bring him to the Japan Cup—and that is why.
- Q: How do you feel about his condition after arriving in Japan?
- T: He's in very good condition and I'm pleased. The quarantine went well and everything worked as planned. The racecourse, I think, will suit him and this morning he was moving very well.
- Q: We heard you aren't planning to work him on the turf until the race. Is there any particular reason for that?
- T: We did all our necessary work back home at Chantilly, so there is no need to run him on the grass. I don't think the surface will be any trouble to him. We will breeze him on Saturday.
- Q: Since returning from his summer break, it seems that this horse has improved incredibly well especially looking at his last three starts. How do you think about his progress?
- T: He's shown magnificent growth among the three and four-year-olds—during which he raced in Dubai as well. And he has especially improved this season and continued to further improve since his race in August—I think he's going to make a very good racehorse.
- Q: Having run against the Japanese horses such as Nakayama Festa and Victoire Pisa with whom he has competed against in the Arc and other strong horses outside Japan that are competing in this race, what are your expectations in this race?
- T: In the Arc he didn't finish well—he was too far back at the stretch—but as I said earlier, he is making a great progress and he has further improved since then, so I think with a bit of luck he has a good chance of giving a very good race, and also, there are some French runners that Marinous has run against so we have high hopes for him to run a good race.
- Q: What are your expectations for the race?
- RM: I'd just like to have a few words on behalf of the owner, Mr. Al Romaithiis, who is still new in the thoroughbred racing although he is one of the biggest horse owners in his country Abu Dhabi. He is very grateful to the JRA for inviting Marinous to run in the Japan Cup. Mr. Al Romaithiis is very enthusiastic about running his horse in the Japan Cup, so naturally he has high expectations.
- Q: You've known him since he was a two-year-old. What is your impression of the horse and how do you see his improvements?
- J: As I said earlier, he has been continuing to improve and mature very well. The Arc, the Grand Prix de Deauville and the Japan Cup are all competitions against strong contenders. Racing among tough competition will certainly help Marinous in furthering his improvement.
- Q: In the Arc, you raced against Japanese horses, Nakayama Fest and Victoire Pisa. What is your impression on the Japanese horses?
- J: I do have some knowledge about racing in Japan. I've ridden Japanese horses before and overall I think the level is high, and Nakayama Festa would be considered a very strong horse even in European standards. Many are concerned about the barrier draw, but for Marinous, I don't think it will be a concern. I have respect for all the horses running against him in the race.
- Q: How would you assess his suitability to the turf here at Tokyo Racecourse?
- J: The Tokyo racecourse is an extraordinary course. The homestretch is very tough—it is long and there's an uphill—but Marinous will adapt well and he can stay, so he's versatile in distances as well. So unless there are other factors, I am sure that he will make it to the finish quite successfully.
MORES WELLS (GB, H6, bay)
-walked 1/2 lap, jogged 1 lap, cantered 3/4 lap, on dirt course
-schooled paddock and saddling area
(exercised from 7:21 to 7:51, ridden by Aymeric Candas)
||: Richard Gibson
||: Sébastien Maillot
- Q: Why and when did you decide to participate in the Japan Cup?
- T: It's always a great privilege to be invited to these fantastic group-one world events and to be good enough to be a contender in such big races. Our horse has been running well all year. As you saw on the TV, he ran a great race in a big group-one in Canada, which was left-handed, and he certainly deserves his chance in the big race on Sunday.
- Q: All his wins are in left-handed races. Do you think that he is suited to left-handed course?
- T: He's definitely a left-handed specialist. He's improved a lot this year. He's always been a horse that showed talent, but this year, we've got his mind right, and he's performing at a very high level of racing at this moment.
- Q: The trainer has participated in the Japan Cup with Lune d'Or in 2004 and finished 7th. Have this experience helped you to prepare Mores Wells this time?
- T: Yes, certainly. I think that to bring a three-year-old filly to Japan after a long Europe season is always a big ask. That's why it was fantastic to see Snow Fairy do so well last week. Lune d'Or was certainly not the right candidate to bring over the last time, and we had to wait nearly seven years to come up with a horse good enough to be invited. So it's a great honor to be here on Sunday.
- Q: Please tell us about the training and condition of the horse after arriving in Japan.
- T: We're 100% happy with his condition. He's exactly the same weight as he was in Canada. Sébastien rode him yesterday on the grass—just a nice canter to get to know the track. By Sadler's Wells, he loves the firm ground, and from health and condition side he's 100%, and we're very pleased.
- Q: As with the race he ran in Canada, there will be tough competition this Sunday as there are strong Japanese horses running in the race. Among these horses, how would you rate Mores Wells?
- T: As a lot of the previous (connections of the) European horses have said, we all have huge admiration for the Japanese horses this year. They did so well to nearly win the Arc de Triomphe, which is our biggest race in Europe. So, we have huge respect for the domestic team and we just want to put everything on our side and put out our best performance possible on Sunday.
- Q: You rode the horse in his gallop yesterday. How was your impression of the horse?
- J: I rode him yesterday and he seemed to be in good condition. He's usually not very good in the morning but still, he felt very good.
- Q: Do you think that the horse is suited to the turf track at Tokyo Racecourse?
- J: As mentioned earlier, he handles left-handed track very well, so I think he is well suited to the Tokyo Racecourse and has a good chance in the Japan Cup.
- Q: You've ridden him in the last two starts. What do you think is his strong point?
- J: His strong point is that he likes to travel overseas. He has raced in many different courses outside his country and he has always done his best even on difficult courses.
- Q: What kind of race do you want him to run next Sunday?
- J: Of course, I hope for the best result. The draw will be important too, so I hope we get a good draw. The horse is currently in top form, so I hope we can run a good race.
- Q: Regarding the draw, what number do you prefer?
- J: I hope that we can have no. 5, because it is my lucky number.
- Q: Who do you think is his rival?
- J: Of course, the number one Japanese favorite, Buena Vista.
- Q: We are not familiar with the race in Sweden. Can you tell us about the level of competition in the Stockholm Cup International?
- T: I don't blame you for not knowing anything about Scandinavian racing—everyone's got their own specialty. It's an American-style tight left-handed track. It was on fast ground. There have been good international horses in the past that have won that race. It's currently Europe's richest group-three race. And from memory, a horse called Collier Hill won the race, who I believe went on to win in Canada and in Hong Kong.
- Q: You've traveled abroad for the past two starts. Did you go back to France before coming to Japan?
- T: The Swedish travel was done on the road in a lorry. It was about a 2,000-kilometer round trip. And obviously we flew to Canada, and the horse was stabled back in Chantilly for approximately one month before flying here with the European contenders ten days ago.
TIMOS (GER, H5, chestnut)
-will be transported from Shiroi Quarantine Center to Tokyo Racecourse on Nov. 26 (Fri)
||: Thierry Doumen
||: Olivier Peslier
- Q: Why and when did you decide to participate in the Japan Cup?
- T: We decided to participate in the Japan Cup after the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. We decided because he likes the long stretch. He's tough, reliable, and has the stamina to race on any course. He's not afraid of a big field. This is why we brought him here.
- Q: You said that you decided to participate in the Japan Cup after the l'Arc de Triomphe. You've raced him in the Prix du Conseil de Paris two weeks after the Arc and before bringing him to Japan. Was this intentional?
- T: No, it was not calculated. The Arc de Triomphe was met with a number of disadvantages and many horses were not able to exert their best performances, unfortunately, Timos being one of them. We thought that it would be a good preparation for him to run in one more race before coming to Japan, so we raced him in the Prix du Conseil, even though it was only two weeks after the Arc.
- Q: Please tell us about the training and condition of the horse after arriving in Japan.
- T: I saw him at the quarantine center this morning. He arrived in Japan five days ago. We trained him on the turf course at Chantilly before shipping him here. He's not too heavy and physically very fit. He's been raced in three starts this season and is well prepared for the Japan Cup. His mental state is also very good. He was running very well this morning and I'm very pleased with the condition of the horse.
- Q: What is your training schedule after the horse arrives here in Tokyo tomorrow?
- T: He will be arriving here tomorrow. He's only been trained lightly since coming to Japan. We plan to gallop him on Saturday morning. We arrived late but we did all his work in France before shipping him to Japan. We're very pleased with how he has been conditioned, and now, we just have to let him get used to the course so that he can perform his best on Sunday.
- Q: Timos has raced with Nakayama Festa and Victoire Pisa in the l'Arc de Triomphe, and Nakayama Festa in the Prix Foy before that, and will be racing with these horses in the Japan Cup. What is your impression of the Japanese horses?
- T: We were able to race him with Nakayama Festa in the Arc. But in the Prix Foy, where our horse started after a three month break, Timos was third finishing right behind Nakayama Festa, which gave us a feel of what the Japan Cup might have in store for us. Having seen him race with Nakayama Festa in both races, we thought that he would have a good chance to perform well in the Japan Cup.
- Q: How do you think Timos will do in the race?
- T: It is a great challenge for the horse to be able to participate in the Japan Cup. We'll decide on the tactics after the draw is decided. He's a very reliable horse. He can race towards the front or in the rear, and can handle any going. The strongest advantage this horse has in this race is the fact that Olivier Peslier will be riding him. He knows the horse well and he is also very familiar with the Japanese course. We are very pleased that he will be riding him on Sunday.
- Q: Mr. Peslier, you will be riding the horse for the first time since this spring. What is your impression of the horse?
- J: The Trainer has covered almost everything I want to say, but he can race in any type of course. He can race in any position and can handle any kind of going.
- Q: Do you think that he is suited to the 2,400-meter race at Tokyo?
- J: As the trainer said, he likes the long stretch. He can accelerate well in the long stretch. He has improved well even during his break. He is able to go into the race in a fresh condition.
- Q: You've ridden Buena Vista in Dubai and saw Nakayama Festa and Victoire Pisa in Europe. What kind of race development do you have in mind for Timos among these Japanese contenders?
- J: We say "lady's first", but I hope this will not be the case in the Japan Cup. Buena Vista is a great horse. She's my favorite filly.
- Q: So, you're strongest rival will be Buena Vista?
- J: I've looked at her recent performances. She is a very strong filly and will be tough to beat. But I think that the race is case by case and there is always a chance.
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