2015 News

November 29, 2015


Shonan Pandora Tops International Field for Japan Cup Victory
2015 Japan Cup (G1)

2015 Japan Cup (G1)

2015 Japan Cup (G1)

2015 Japan Cup (G1)

Fourth favorite Shonan Pandora, coming off a fourth in the Tenno Sho (Autumn), made the most of her stupendous kick to dominate this year’s Japan Cup, her third graded win and her second G1 victory following her G1 Shuka Sho last season. It is the first victory for a female contender since Gentildonna in 2013, and fifth in the past seven years to capture the title. For trainer Tomokazu Takano, this is his second JRA-G1 since claiming the Shuka Sho with the filly, and the 21st for jockey Kenichi Ikezoe since his 2013 Arima Kinen victory with Orfevre, with whom he finished second in the 2012 Japan Cup.

While front runner Curren Mirotic opened his lead to four to five lengths in the backstretch, Ikezoe settled Shonan Pandora in mid-pack and two-wide keeping a bullseye on the favorite traveling a couple of lengths in front. As the field turned for home, the four-year-old Deep Impact filly found herself in tight quarters at the top of the straight, then again 150 meters out, but powerfully gained on Lovely Day and out-dueled the favorite then pinning Last Impact who held a brief lead along the rails for a neck win.

Under British jockey Ryan Moore, Last Impact took a ground saving trip in the latter half of the group, briefly tried to angle out rounding the last turn but found a gap on the rails and powered strongly up the hill to take over Lovely Day within 100 meters for a brief lead, however was caught by the winner in the final strides to finish second.

Race favorite and winner of the Tenno Sho (Autumn), Lovely Day traveled in sixth after breaking from the inner most stall and displayed a good kick to take command 300 meters out, however was caught by Last Impact at the furlong pole and the fast closing Shonan Pandora to clear the wire a neck from the runner-up in third.

French runner and sixth choice Erupt was settled in fifth behind Ito and, although struggling to find room turning for home, jockey Stephane Pasquier skillfully guided the colt to find room and reach contention briefly. However, the Dubawi colt ran out of steam in the final furlong, while staying well to finish sixth.

“He was good out of the gate and positioned nicely, he was in striking distance and had a smooth trip up to the last corner where he was unable to secure a clear run and got blocked by the horses in front that fell back. He showed good acceleration briefly but couldn’t give any more in the last 100 meters.” (Francis-Henri Graffard)

After reluctant to load, German raider Ito sat off the pace in third from the second corner and attacked the straight in a prominent position, however, was used up and flattened out finishing last.

“We didn’t get the lead—that was the big problem for him and we got badly checked after one furlong to go from the outside. He dropped the bit and never traveled, never finished and gave up everything. He is a good horse, but now you can see how good Ivanhowe was.” (Filip Minarik)

Breaking from the farthest stall, jockey Andrasch Starke steered ninth-favorite Nightflower from Germany to save ground early. She improved position from entering the stretch near the rear, ready to threaten, however, was blocked in the last half furlong to finish 0.5 seconds from the winner in 11th.

“We were able to race her in the inside as planned but we got pinched back at the last turn and couldn’t find a clear space for the run. We were very disappointed with the result.” (Andrasch Starke)

Great Britain’s Trip To Paris raced unexpectedly near the rear after breaking, from stall two traveling on the rails fourth from the rear, and angled wide for his final run, however, was unable to reach contention to finish 14th.

“We were a long way back, which is surprising with the good draw. He looks like he had one race too many this season. He didn’t have the same spark as he had in Australia. He’ll have a holiday now but he will be in training next year.” (Edward Dunlop)

[Other Horses]
4th: (4) Jungle Cruise—hugged rail in mid-pack, accelerated impressively in last 200m
5th: (10) Sounds of Earth—positioned in front of winner, showed effort at stretch
7th: (3) One and Only—prominent early in 3rd, sustained bid until 400m marker, weakened
8th: (11) Mikki Queen—raced inside winner, turned wide for clear path, lacked needed kick
9th: (9) Derby Fizz—saved ground behind favorite, even paced at stretch
10th: (12) Gold Ship—traveled 2nd from last, advanced after 3rd corner, circled wide, failed to respond
12th: (7) Shonan Bach—trailed in rear, timed fastest over last 3 furlongs, unable to reach contention
13th: (13) Hit the Target—sat in rear division, quickened briefly at stretch, never threatened
15th: (16) Curren Mirotic—set pace, led until 300m out, outrun thereafter
16th: (17) Admire Deus—chased leader in 2nd, ran out of steam after 400m marker
17th: (5) Pelusa—ran behind winner, angled wide, never fired at straight

THE 35TH JAPAN CUP (G1) in association with Longines – Japan Autumn International -
3-year-old & up, 2,400 meters (about 12 furlongs), turf, left-handed
Sunday, November 29, 2015   Tokyo Racecourse   11th Race   Post Time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 624,000,000 (about US$ 5,200,000 <US$1=¥120>)
3-y-o: 55 kg (about 121 lbs), 4-y-o & up: 57 kg (about 126 lbs)
2 kg allowance for Fillies & Mares, 2 kg allowance for Southern Hemisphere-bred born in 2012
Safety Factor: 18 runners

FP BK PP Horse Sex
Wgt (kg) Sire
Margin (L3F) Odds (Fav)
1 7 15 Shonan Pandora
F4 55.0 Deep Impact
Cutie Gold
K. Ikezoe
T. Takano
Tetsuhide Kunimoto
Shadai Corporation Inc.
2 3 6 Last Impact
H5 57.0 Deep Impact
Superior Pearl
R. Moore
H. Matsuda
Silk Racing Co., Ltd.
Shadai Corporation Inc.
3 1 1 Lovely Day
H5 57.0 King Kamehameha
Popcorn Jazz
Y. Kawada
Y. Ikee
Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co., Ltd.
Kaneko Makoto Holdings Inc.
4 2 4 Jungle Cruise
G6 57.0 Jungle Pocket
Fjord Cruise
H. Kitamura
K. Fujisawa
Yoshiro Kubota
Shadai Farm
5 5 10 Sounds of Earth
C4 57.0 Neo Universe
First Violin
M. Demuro
K. Fujioka
Teruya Yoshida
Shadai Farm
6 4 8 Erupt*
C3 55.0 Dubawi
Mare Nostrum
S. Pasquier
F. Graffard
Niarchos Family
Niarchos Family
7 2 3 One and Only
C4 57.0 Heart’s Cry
H. Uchida
K. Hashiguchi
Koji Maeda
North Hills Co,. Ltd.
8 6 11 Mikki Queen
F3 53.0 Deep Impact
Musical Way
S. Hamanaka
Y. Ikee
Mizuki Noda
Northern Farm
9 5 9 Derby Fizz
H5 57.0 Jungle Pocket
Manhattan Fizz
H. Tanabe
F. Kojima
Shadai Race Horse Co., Ltd.
Shadai Farm
10 6 12 Gold Ship
H6 57.0 Stay Gold
Point Flag
N. Yokoyama
N. Sugai
Kobayashi Eiichi Holdings LLC.
Eiichi Kobayashi
11 8 18 Nightflower*
F3 53.0 Dylan Thomas
Night Of Magic
A. Starke
P. Schiergen
Stall Nizza
Jurgen Imm
12 4 7 Shonan Bach
C4 57.0 Stay Gold
Sugar Heart
K. Tosaki
H. Uehara
Tetsuhide Kunimoto
Yanagawa Bokujo
13 7 13 Hit the Target
H7 57.0 King Kamehameha
F. Komaki
K. Kato
Shinji Maeda
North Hills Management
14 1 2 Trip To Paris*
G4 57.0 Champs Elysees
La Grande Zoa
T. Berry
E. Dunlop
La Grange Partnership
Paul Monaghan & T. J. Monaghan
15 8 16 Curren Mirotic
G7 57.0 Heart’s Cry
Star Mie
M. Ebina
O. Hirata
Takashi Suzuki
Northern Racing
16 8 17 Admire Deus
C4 57.0 Admire Don
Royal Card
Y. Iwata
M. Hashida
Riichi Kondo
Tsuji Bokujo
17 3 5 Pelusa
H8 57.0 Zenno Rob Roy
Argentine Star
C. Lemaire
K. Fujisawa
Hidetoshi Yamamoto
Shadai Farm
18 7 14 Ito*
C4 57.0 Adlerflug
F. Minarik
J. Carvalho
Gestut Schlenderhan
Gestut Schlenderhan
FP=Final Position / BK=Bracket Number / PP=Post Position / B=Blinker / Wgt=Weight / L3F=Time of Last 3 Furlongs (600m) / DS=Distance
Note1: *Foreign Horses
Note2: Figures quoted under Odds are Win Odds, which show the amount of money you get back per single unit (100yen), and Fav indicates the order of favorites.

WINNING TIME: 2:24.7            GOING: Firm WEATHER: Fine
TURNOVER FOR THE RACE ALONE: ¥ 19,117,756,400  
TURNOVER FOR THE DAY: ¥ 26,306,364,100 ATTENDANCE: 102,960

PAY-OFF (for ¥100)
WIN No.15 ¥920 BRACKET QUINELLA 3-7 ¥6,230 QUINELLA 6-15 ¥10,160
PLACE No.15 ¥220 QUINELLA PLACE 6-15 ¥1,960 EXACTA 15-6 ¥18,510
No.6 ¥380 1-15 ¥410 TRIO 1-6-15 ¥6,350
No.1 ¥130 1-6 ¥890 TRIFECTA 15-6-1 ¥53,920
  1. Shonan Pandora (JPN), bay, filly, 4-year-old
    Deep Impact / Cutie Gold (French Deputy)
    Owner: Tetsuhide Kunimoto Breeder: Shadai Corporation Inc.
    Trainer: Tomokazu Takano Jockey: Kenichi Ikezoe
    16 Starts, 5 Wins
    Added money: ¥ 303,780,000 Career earnings: ¥ 567,030,000
    Principal Race Performances: ’14 Shuka Sho (G1, 2,000m) 1st
    ’15 All Comers (G2, 2,200m) 1st
    ’15 Takarazuka Kinen (G1, 2,200m) 3rd

  2. Last Impact (JPN), dark bay or brown, horse, 5-year-old
    Deep Impact / Superior Pearl (Timber Country)
    Owner: Silk Racing Co., Ltd. Breeder: Shadai Corporation Inc.
    Trainer: Hiroyoshi Matsuda Jockey: Ryan Moore

  3. Lovely Day (JPN), dark bay or brown, horse, 5-year-old
    King Kamehameha / Popcorn Jazz (Dance in the Dark)
    Owner: Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co., Ltd. Breeder: Kaneko Makoto Holdings Inc.
    Trainer: Yasutoshi Ikee Jockey: Yuga Kawada
Fractional Time (sec./furlong): 12.7 - 10.8 - 11.7 - 12.1 - 12.0 - 12.3 - 12.6 - 12.7 - 12.5 - 11.8 - 11.5 - 12.0
Last 4 furlongs: 47.8   Last 3 furlongs: 35.3

Positions at each corner: 1st corner 16,17,3(8,14)1(9,10)(11,15)(6,5)4,18-2,13-12,7
  2nd corner 16-17,14(3,8)1(9,10)(11,15)5,6,18,4-2-13-12-7
  3rd corner 16=17-14,3,8(9,1)(6,15,10)(4,18,11,5)-(2,12)13-7
  4th corner 16-17-(3,14)(8,1,10,5,12)9(6,15,11,2)(4,18)13,7

Note1: Underlined bold number indicates the winning horse
Note2: Horse numbers are indicated in the order of their positions at each corner, with the first position listed first. Two or more horses inside the same parentheses indicate that they were positioned side by side. Hyphens between the horse numbers indicate that there is distance between the former and the latter. The asterisk indicates a slight lead.

[Post Race Interview of Winning Connections]

Trainer: Tomokazu Takano
“I am overwhelmed with delight and lost for words. I am usually known to be relatively calm at the races but today, I was screaming in the last 200 meters and my hands and legs were shaking. She was in great condition in her last start (the Tenno Sho (Autumn)) and I was just hoping to be able to keep that up to this race, but watching her movement in the paddock, and her bold body, I was certain that she would give a great performance. It was her fourth start in partnership with Ikezoe and so I had not gone into details about the tactics. A sharp break to secure good position from the outside stall was the key in this race—she accelerated pretty well to the first corner and wasn’t too far to the outside in the trip—then coming out of a narrow path at the stretch and rallying with Lovely Day, I knew that she would give a good fight to the wire. Though she hadn’t scored another G1 victory after her victory in the (all female) Shuka Sho, I knew that she had the ability to face male runners at the top level. She was heavily defeated in the Sankei Osaka Hai and the Victoria Mile early this season but I wasn’t convinced and I knew she was much more than that. Her third-place effort in the Takarazuka Kinen was what probably motivated me to run her against the top mixed field in the fall. I have never known such a flexible hindquarters and shoulders, probably handed down from her sire, which enable her to have dynamic strides despite her small build. And she has such an independent character. She gives her all in every race, and we have taken each race at the time—even the Japan Cup was not in our minds until we’d seen how she had recovered after the Tenno Sho (Autumn)—so the possibility to run in the coming Arima Kinen will not even be discussed until we see how she is when we return to Ritto. She’s a small filly and still has a lot of races within Japan to prove her ability, so the choice to race abroad is there but not under consideration yet until I have talked with the owner.”

Jockey: Kenichi Ikezoe
“She was in great condition in before the Tenno Sho (Autumn)—I’m not going to make any excuses about the outside draw in that race—but I was unable to ride her to victory in that race. The stable staff had brought her to tip top condition again for the Japan Cup and she felt really light underneath me and I was determined to do my part in giving her a good trip this time. Starting from an outside stall—perhaps God was testing me to see how I’d do this time out—I rated her behind Lovely Day in mid-pack. I made sure I didn’t go too far out and lose much ground. When Gold Ship start to make his move along the outside, everybody started to rush forward for their position in the straight. I was thinking “inside” and in the stretch when our path narrowed in front of us, I was praying that she would squeeze out, which she did, and she responded really well. I was sure we had Lovely Day nailed but there was another horse inside of us which I prayed we’d crossed the wire first. She’s certainly grown into a tough filly and the staff has told me that she’s also matured mentally. I don’t know where she is headed next but I think she has a great future and I hope to be able to have the chance to partner her again.”


* Japan Cup (G1)
The Japan Cup, in its 35th year, continues to attract some of the top turf horses from around the world—67 runners from North America, 138 from Europe, 25 from Oceania and five from Asia—while a number of runners have made this race their starting point towards further international success in following years.
Last year’s Japan Cup saw three foreign contenders: winner of the 2014 Grosser Preis von Baden (G1, 2,400m) and 2014 Grosser Preis von Bayern (G1, 2,400m) Ivanhowe (GER, by Soldier Hollow) from Germany finished sixth (Now in Australia and renamed Our Ivanhowe); victor of the 2013 Jamaica Handicap (G1, 1,800m) Up With the Birds (CAN, by Stormy Atlantic) from Canada finished 16th and Trading Leather (IRE, by Teofilo) from Ireland, who claimed the 2013 Irish Derby (G1, 2,400m) and was runner-up in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1, 2,400m), unfortunately pulled up with a fracture in his right foreleg.
2013 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, G1, 3,000m) winner Epiphaneia (JPN, by Symboli Kris S) claimed the title last year when he accelerated from sitting in third to take command 400 meters out and cruised to a four-length victory over runner-up Just a Way (JPN, by Heart’s Cry). The two horses were ranked the top two in the 2014 World’s Best Racehorse Rankings. Epiphaneia was retired to stud due to an injured tendon in his left foreleg after a ninth-place finish in the Dubai World Cup (G1, dirt, 2,000m) in March this year.
This year’s Japan Cup welcomed four runners from abroad: Trip To Paris from Great Britain who claimed his first G1 victory in the Gold Cup (G1, 4,000m) at Royal Ascot and went on to register a second and a fourth in the Caulfield Cup (G1, 2,400m) and Melbourne Cup (G1, 3,200m), respectively, in Australia; winner of the Grand Prix de Paris (G1, 2,400m) Erupt, from France, who came off his fifth-place finish in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1, 2,400m); one of the German raiders was Ito who showed a runner-up effort in the Grosser Preis von Berlin (G1, 2,400m) before landing his first G1 victory in the Grosser Preis von Bayern; another representing Germany was Nightflower who notched two runner-up finishes in Preis de Diana (German Oaks, G1, 2,200m) and the Grosser Pries von Baden before claiming the G1 Preis von Europe (G1, 2,400m) at the end of September.
Eight runners from the home team had come off their Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1, 2,000m) starts on November 1; winner of the race and also the Takarazuka Kinen (G1, 2,200m) victor, Lovely day; fourth-place finisher, Shonan Pandora, who had claimed last year’s Shuka Sho (G1, 2,000m) and against the opposite gender in this year’s All Comers (G2, 2,200m); seventh-place Pelusa who was fifth in the 2010 Japan Cup; in 11th was G2 Nikkei Shinshun Hai (2,400m) and Nikke Sho (2,500m) winner Admire Deus; Last Impact who is a winner of three grade-race titles, was fourth in the Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1, 3,200m) and 12th this time; also a grade-race winner, Curren Mirotic, who was runner-up in the 2014 Takarazuka Kinen and third in this year’s Tenno Sho (Spring), was 13th; landing his first graded title in the Hakodate Kinen (G3, 2,000m) was 15th place Derby Fizz; and in 16th was 2014 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1, 2,400m) winner One and Only.
Three-year-old Mikki Queen, winner of the second and third leg of this season’s fillies’ Triple Crown, the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1, 2,400m) and Shuka Sho, respectively, was in full aim to become the first three-year-old filly since Gentildonna (JPN, by Deep Impact) to claim the title. This year’s Tenno Sho (Spring) victor and winner of six G1 titles, Gold Ship, was among one of the favorites in spite of his 15th place finish five months ago in the Takarazuka Kinen. 2014 Kikuka Sho runner-up Sounds of Earth had come off his second-place finish in the Kyoto Daishoten (G2, 2,400m). Hit the Target was in his third Japan Cup challenge entered off a second in the Sapporo Kinen.
Cumani-trained Alkaased (USA, by Kingmambo), who won the race in 2005, is the record holder of this race at 2:22.1.

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