European raiders arrive ahead of Japan Cup (Erupt, Ito and Nightflower)
The first three of four foreign-based runners for this year’s Japan Cup on Nov. 29 arrived safely in Japan on the morning of the 17th. Erupt, Ito and Nightflower, all traveling together, touched down at Narita International Airport east of Tokyo shortly after 9:30 a.m. and were transported to quarantine facilities at the nearby JRA Horseracing School, where they arrived at 1:30 p.m.
Ito and Nightflower both hail from Germany. The 4-year-old bay colt Ito is bred and owned by Gestuet Schlenderhan, located near the city of Cologne. He is by Adlerflug out of the Tiger Hill mare Iota and is trained by Jean-Pierre Carvalho. Ito has six wins and one second from 10 starts and is fresh off victory in the Nov. 1 Grosser Preis von Bayern at Munich, where races are run to the left. Ito, running under 60 kg over 2,400 meters of heavy turf, topped a field of seven by a margin of 4 lengths over runnerup Prince Gibraltar. Ito ran second two races previous in the Grosser Preis von Berlin in August. Also a G1 over 2,400 meters, the Grosser Preis von Berlin saw Ito finish 3/4 length behind Second Step over firm turf. Ito also took the G2 2,200-meter Grosser Preis der Badischen Unternehmer at Baden Baden in June. He is to be ridden by Filip Minarik, who has been partnered with Ito for all but his debut.
Rene Piechulek, assistant to trainer Carvalho said of Ito shortly after arriving at quarantine, “There are no particular problems with the horse’s condition. While at the school, we’ll work him according to how he’s looking.”
Nightflower too was said to be looking fine. Ilke Hildebrand, assistant to trainer Peter Schiergen, said, “She looks the same as she does back home.” Hildebrand indicated that the filly would only be worked lightly while at the horseracing school.
Nightflower is an Irish-bred daughter of Dylan Thomas. Her dam Night Of Magic by Peintre Celebre is winner of the 2009 Oaks d’Italia. The chestnut Nightflower is bred and owned by Stall Nizza. Nightflower has two wins and five seconds from eight outings. Last out, she captured the Group 1 Preis von Europa on Sept. 27 with a powerful burst of speed over the final furlong. She topped a field of nine, including G1 winner Sirius and the favorite Dubday by 2 lengths over 2,400 meters of heavy turf. That field also included Ito, who was the race favorite finished in fourth place. Nightflower also ran second in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden in early September. She finished a length and three-quarters off the winner amid a field of seven over firm ground.
Nightflower is to be ridden in the Japan Cup by Andrasch Starke, who also rode the filly to victory in the Preis von Europa.
Erupt made the trip from the stable of Francis-Henri Graffard in France. Handler Anthony David said the 3-year-old colt was “relaxed and in good condition.” David said, “I’ve been instructed to work the colt from (Wednesday) and we plan to gallop him lightly.”
Erupt is by Dubawi out of the Caerleon mare Mare Nostrum. Erupt is currently 4 for 6 and is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Oct. 4 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. The bay colt streaked unbeaten through his first four starts following his debut this April and jumped to the graded-stakes level from his third outing. That was the G3 Prix du Lys at Chantilly, which he won, before going on to scoop the G1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp in July. Two months later, Erupt took on the G2 Prix Niel in his buildup to the Arc and ran fourth of seven, apparently not suited to the heavy ground. In the Arc, Erupt carried 56 kg and finished fifth in a field of 17 some three-and-a-half lengths behind the winner Golden Horn. All of Erupt’s starts except for his debut have been over 2,400 meters. The colt is bred and owned by the Niarchos Family, whose French broodmares are based at Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard in Normandy. Erupt, however, was bred in Ireland. He is to be ridden by Stephane Pasquier, who has ridden all but the colt’s debut.
The fourth Japan Cup participant Trip to Paris is scheduled to arrive on the morning of Nov. 18.
The Japan Cup, with a 3:40 p.m. post time (Japan time), will be the last race on Sunday, Nov. 29 at Tokyo Racecourse. The race’s total purse is worth 624 million yen, or approximately US$5.2 million. The winner of the invitational will take home 300 million yen.