November 22, 2016
Exclusive Topics for JAPAN AUTUMN INTERNATIONAL 2016 - 4th Edition -
Sambista in the 2015 Champions Cup
The Champions Cup (G1, dirt, 1,800m), formally the Japan Cup Dirt, was transferred to Chukyo Racecourse in 2014 and took its current name as the JRA’s fall dirt G1. It was won last year by Sambista (JPN, by Suzuka Mambo) in an upset victoryby the 12th favorite, who became the first female runner to claim a JRA-G1 title on dirt.
While the Suzuka Mambo mare retired from racing with the win, others that performed well in the race are still active, and many began their fall preparations in the JBC Classic (dirt, 2,100m) at Kawasaki on November 3. But despite a strong field, which included G1 winners and many regular runners, the step-race was won by a first-timer, Awardee (USA, H6, by Jungle Pocket), who had switched to dirt last year and was making his debut in a top-level field.
Awardee in the 2016 Antares Stakes
Awardee, the US-bred son of Jungle Pocket and out of 2005 Tenno Sho (Autumn) winner Heavenly Romance (JPN, by Sunday Silence), began with much expectation as a turf runner but was unable to go beyond the allowance level. Tested on dirt in September 2015, Awardee proved an immediate success. He became a grade-race winner in just his second start and then was undefeated in three more top-class dirt races, including in the last of which, the Nippon TV Hai (dirt, 1,800m), he outdueled February Stakes winner Moanin (USA, C4, by Henny Hughes) to qualify for the JBC Classic. Sent to post second favorite, the six-year-old won convincingly from mid-pack by a 3/4 length, thereby extending his winning streak to six prior to his Champions Cup debut. Awardee is a half-brother of Lani (USA, C3, by Tapit), who ran all three legs of the US three-year-old Classics.
in the 2014 Champions Cup
Among other JBC Classic runners, Hokko Tarumae (JPN, H7, by King Kamehameha), who had three wins in as many starts at Kawasaki Racecourse, was defeated to second despite besting the rest of the field by more than a length. In previous years, Hokko Tarumae won the 2014 Champions Cup and then held on gamely, after weakening in the final stages, for a close fifth in the 2015 edition, but this year his only win came in January in the Kawasaki Kinen (dirt, 2,100m), which he has won three years in a row. Age finally might be catching up on the seven-year-old son of King Kamehameha.
Sound True in the 2015 July Stakes
The JBC Classic’s third-place finisher was Sound True (JPN, G6, by French Deputy)
who was third in last year’s Champions Cup and capped off his 2015 season with his first G1 victory in the Tokyo Daishoten (G1, dirt, 2,000m). While still without a win this year, he has consistently finished within the money in all but the Kashiwa Kinen (dirt), a mile race, which is shorter than his ideal distance.
in the 2015 Musashino Stakes
2015 Champions Cup runner-up Nonkono Yume (JPN, G4, by Twining) was fourth in the JBC Classic. Winless after finishing second in the February Stakes (G1, dirt, 1,600m), he was gelded during the summer and came off a long break to race at Kawasaki, where the turns are a bit tight for his big strides. His next start at Chukyo should provide more space for his dynamic movement.
in the 2015 February Stakes
Copano Rickey (JPN, H6, by Gold Allure) disappointed to fifth in the JBC Classic despite being sent to post race favorite. He had extended his top-level dirt race titles to eight with three consecutive wins in the Kashiwa Kinen, the Teio Sho (dirt, 2,000m) and the Mile Championship Nambu Hai (dirt, 1,600m). In the JBC Classic, however, he showed his weakness when pressured by rivals, being unable to dictate the race after a poor break and providing no answer when challenged at the straight. His seventh-place performance in the 2015 Champions Cup was very much the same situation, so a good result from this horse is conditional. 2013 Japan Dirt Derby (dirt, 2,000m) champion Chrysolite (JPN, H6, by Gold Allure), who scored his first overseas win in the inaugural Keeneland Korea Cup, was well beaten to 11th in the JBC Classic and is predicted to pass up the Champions Cup for the Urawa Kinen (dirt, 2,000m) on November 22.
Apollo Kentucky (left)
in the 2016 Miyako Stakes
Potential Champions Cup starters that ran in the Miyako Stakes (G3, dirt, 1,800m) at Kyoto on November 6 include winner Apollo Kentucky (USA, C4, by Langfuhr), who claimed his first grade-race victory along with a ticket to the Champions Cup. 2015 Champions Cup fourth-place finisher Roi Jardin (JPN, H5, by King Kamehameha) was a close third, while Lani and 2016 February Stakes third-place finisher Asukano Roman (JPN, H5, by Agnes Digital)followed in 13th and 14th, respectively.
in the 2015 Miyako Stakes
in the 2016 UAE Derby
in the 2016 Tokai Stakes
Other possible runners are coming off starts in the Musashino Stakes (G3, dirt, 1,600m) held on November 12. The race was won by Tagano Tonnerre (JPN, G6, by Came Home) who renewed the track record in his second top-level race victory, the first one being the 2015 Summer Champion (dirt, 1,400m) at Saga Racecourse. He will be taking a step up in distance in the coming 1,800-meter G1. Gold Dream (JPN, C3, by Gold Allure), who finished 1-1/4 lengths behind in second, will be challenging his seniors, and 2016 February Stakes victor Moanin, who finished seventh carrying a top weight of 59kg, hopes to bounce back to form for his second JRA-G1 title of the season.
in the 2016 Musashino Stakes
Gold Dream (left)
in the 2016 Unicorn Stakes
in the 2016 February Stakes