Trip To Paris arrives for Japan Cup bid
Trip To Paris
Trip To Paris, one of four foreign raiders set to participate in the 35th running of the Japan Cup on Sunday, Nov. 29, set down at Narita International Airport early in the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 18. The last to arrive in Japan, the 4-year-old gelding flew in from Australia via Hong Kong and was settled in at the quarantine facilities at the JRA Horseracing School by 9:30 a.m.
Robin Trevor-Jones, traveling foreman for Newmarket trainer Edward Dunlop, said the Irish-bred Trip To Paris was doing fine. “He looks no different than usual.” Trevor-Jones added, “We plan to only do light work while we’re at the horseracing school.”
Trip To Paris, sired by Champs Elysees out of the Fantastic Light mare La Grande Zoa, currently has six wins and third seconds from 20 starts. Trained by Dunlop for the La Grange Partnership, Trip To Paris has shown great improvement this year with a string of solid races. Started as a 2-year-old over 1,400 meters, he was then given middle distances as a 3-year-old but won only one race in seven starts (a 2,400-meter handicap at Ascot) that year.
From early this year, a fourth-place run in the Rosebery Handicap at Kempton over 2,200 meters suggested he would do better as a stayer. Following one more win over 2,400 meters in early April he was given a number of long-distance races and proved successful. He first graded-stakes race was the G3 Henry II Stakes at Sandown in May and he notched a second.
The gelding scored big with an upset in the 4,000-meter G1 Gold Cup at Ascot in June, a third in the G2 Goodwood Cup in July over 3,200 meters. Following a fifth-place at York the following month, Trip To Paris debuted Down Under with a second-place finish behind Mongolian Khan in the 2,400-meter G1 Caulfield Cup on Oct. 17. One of the top picks in the 3,200-meter Melbourne Cup, Trip To Paris finished fourth 2 lengths behind the winner. The bay gelding has won over both right-handed and left-handed tracks and over firm and slightly yielding ground. Tommy Berry is set for the Japan Cup ride. The 24-year-old Australian native rode Trip To Paris for his two starts in Australia.
In an interview shortly before leaving for Japan Trevor-Jones was interviewed by Sky Racing HQ. Trevor-Jones recognized that the competition would be extremely high in the Japan Cup. “The Japan is always tough, there is no getting around that and it will be a great race. We are there and we are fit.” Trevor-Jones said Trip To Paris, who had sustained an injury in the Melbourne Cup, had worked on the 16th. “He worked very well, so we are looking forward to it. He is showing the right signs that he has come out of the Melbourne Cup well and he is ready to go again.”
Trainer Edward Dunlop, a native of Britain, has been highly successful around the world, including Japan. His Snow Fairy won the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup in 2010 and 2011. Dunlop has had numerous Japan Cup bids as well, but none have brought him a winner. His previous challenges include a third-place finish by the 5-year-old mare Ouija Board in 2006. She finished in third place 2 1/2 lengths behind winner Deep Impact. The recently retired Red Cadeaux ran eighth in the 2012 Japan Cup, with Solemia finishing 13th amid a field of 17 the same year. Joshua Tree finished last of 17 in 2013.
The Japan Cup is the last race on the Tokyo Racecourse Sunday card of 11. Post time is set for 3:40 p.m. The total purse boasts 624 million yen, or approximately US$5.2 million. The winner of the invitational will take home 300 million yen.
Trip To Paris, with his fourth in the Melbourne Cup, missed being eligible for the Japan Cup bonus offered by the JRA to winners of selected races. Of the other three foreign-based runners in this year’s Japan Cup, France’s Erupt, as winner of the Grand Prix de Paris, is the only one eligible. He could win an extra 80 million yen if he wins the Japan Cup, an extra 32 million yen if he runs second and an extra 20 million for a third place. Nightflower, with her second in the Grosser Preis von Baden just missed a shot at the bonus.
The last foreign horse to win the Japan Cup was the British-trained Alkaased in 2005.