2015 News

November 25, 2015


Exclusive Topics for JAPAN AUTUMN INTERNATIONAL 2015 - 4th Edition -
Champions cup

2015 Champions Cup - Preview

The Champions Cup (G1, dirt, 1,800m) is in its second year since being renamed from the Japan Cup Dirt and transferred to Chukyo Racecourse. Many of the runners predicted to run in the Japan Autumn International G1 dirt are coming off starts in one of three JBC (Japan Breeding farms’ Cup) races at Ohi Racecourse on November 3. The JBC, which was established in 2001 by NAR (National Association of Racing for local public racing), comprises three G1 races—JBC Classic, JBC Ladies’ Classic and JBC Sprint—which are held on a single day at a different location each year. This year’s event at the partly renewed Ohi Racecourse was a great success, earning a record-breaking turnover for the day. The race favorites, however, were not so successful in their performances.

Sambista in the 2014 JBC Ladies' Classic
Sambista in the 2014 JBC Ladies' Classic

The JBC Ladies’ Classic (dirt, 1,800m), which is limited to fillies and mares, broke off with defending champion and 2014 Champions Cup fourth-place finisher Sambista (JPN, M6, by Suzuka Mambo) as the heavy favorite, but the Suzuka Mambo mare was well beaten by five lengths to White Fugue (JPN, F3, by Kurofune), although she bested the rest to finish second. White Fugue will be given a break, so she will not be in the Champions Cup

Danon Legend (USA, H5, by Macho Uno) was sent to post favorite in the JBC Sprint (1,200m) but finished second, unable to catch four-year-old filly Corin Berry (JPN, F4, by South Vigorous), who won wire-to-wire and accomplished a father-daughter victory in the race. Corin Berry, whose past races have been mainly at 1,400 meters, will take a step-up in distance in the Champions Cup, with hopes of parlaying the effort into a start in the February Stakes (G1, dirt, 1,600m).

The main Champions Cup prep, the JBC Classic (dirt, 2,000m), also produced unexpected results. Hokko Tarumae (JPN, H6, by King Kamehameha), who had been unbeatable in Japan since his victory in last year’s Champions Cup, ended up in third place. The race unfolded with Copano Rickey (JPN, H5, by Gold Allure), winner of the 2014 race at Morioka Racecourse, assuming command early. Hokko Tarumae was in close pursuit, but the son of King Kamehameha was unable to close the gap and then was overtaken at the wire by Sound True (JPN, G5, by French Deputy), who came charging from behind into second.

February Stakes (G1) 
Copano Rickey in the 2015 February Stakes

Copano Rickey returned this fall from a leg fracture sustained after his second consecutive victory in the February Stakes. He finished third in his comeback start in the Nippon TV Hai (dirt, 1,800m) and then, after a prolonged break, regained his form in his second start in the JBC Classic. Sound True, a progressing dirt specialist who showed impressive closing speed from behind to win the Nippon TV Hai, is considered a potential winner in the coming dirt G1.


2014 Champions Cup (G1)
Hokko Tarumae in the 2014 Champions Cup

The JBC Classic was Hokko Tarumae’s first start since June, when he won his comeback in the Teio Sho (dirt, 2,000m) after an unsuccessful overseas endeavor in Dubai. His condition prior to the race was presumed to be better than in the previous year, when he had health issues following his first trip to Dubai and finished fourth, so much had been expected of the multiple-G1 winner. Nevertheless, the powerful dirt runner should improve in the second start of his fall campaign, so hopes are high for him to claim his 10th G1 victory.

Other JRA-based thoroughbreds that ran in the JBC Classic included 2013 Japan Dirt Derby (dirt, 2,000m) winner Chrysolite (JPN, H5, by Gold Allure), who finished in fourth, 1-1/4 lengths behind Hokko Tarumae; 2012 Japan Cup Dirt (G1, dirt, 1,800m) victor Nihonpiro Ours (JPN, H8, by White Muzzle), who finished eighth; and 2013 Japan Cup Dirt sixth-place finisher Grand City (JPN, H8, by King Kamehameha), who was 10th.

Chrysolite in the 2013 Japan Dirt Derby
Chrysolite in the 2013 Japan Dirt Derby
Japan Cup Dirt (G1)
Nihonpiro Ours in the 2012 Japan Cup Dirt
Grand City
Grand City in the 2013 March Stakes

Another prep race for the Champions Cup, the Miyako Stakes (G3, dirt, 1,800m), which was held by the JRA at Kyoto on November 8, was run on a sloppy dirt track and won by seventh pick Roi Jardin (JPN, C4, by King Kamehameha), who earned a berth in the Champions Cup with his first grade-race victory. None of the top three favorites finished within fifth in this JRA-G3 race. In third was Roman Legend (JPN, H7, by Special Week), who was also third in both the 2012 Tokyo Daishoten (G1, dirt, 2,000m) and last year’s Champions Cup. Multiple-grade-race winner Kurino Star O (JPN, H5, by Admire Boss) was fifth.

Miyako Stakes (G3)
Roi Jardin in the 2015 Miyako Stakes
Elm Stakes (G3)
Roman Legend in the 2014 Elm Stakes
Antares Stakes (G3)
Kurino Star O in the 2015 Antares Stakes

This year’s Japan Dirt Derby winner Nonkono Yume (JPN, C3, by Twining) earned a berth in the Champions Cup with a win in the Musashino Stakes (G3, dirt, 1,600m) at Tokyo Racecourse on November 14. In second was Tagano Tonnerre (JPN, H5, by Came Home), who was runner-up in the Mile Championship Nambu Hai (dirt, 1,600m), while 2013 February Stake victor Grape Brandy (JPN, H7, by Manhattan Cafe) finished fifth.

Tokyo Chunichi Sports Hai Musashino Stakes (G3)
Nonkono Yume in the 2015 Musashino Stakes
 February Stakes (G1)
Grape Brandy in the 2013 February Stakes