2023 News

November 23, 2023


November 2023
The Japan Racing Association

Exclusive Topics for JAPAN AUTUMN INTERNATIONAL 2023 - 4th Edition -

Japan’s top dirt specialists are getting ready to launch their fall seasons with full-fledged preparations for the Champions Cup (G1, dirt, 1,800m) at Chukyo Racecourse on December 3.

Jun Light Bolt (JPN, H6, by King Kamehameha), last year’s winner, retired from racing in late spring, but the 2022 Champions Cup runner-up Crown Pride (JPN, C4, by Reach the Crown) kicked off his four-year-old campaign in the Middle East, where he finished fifth in both the Saudi Cup (G1, dirt, 1,800m) and the Dubai World Cup (G1, dirt, 2,000m). He then returned to Japan and just missed by a nose in the Teio Sho (dirt, 2,000m) in June. Back overseas, this time to South Korea for the Korea Cup (G3, dirt, 1,800m) on September 10, he scored an overwhelming 10-length victory against fellow Japanese raider Gloria Mundi (JPN, H5, by King Kamehameha). Both Crown Pride and Gloria Mundi will head directly to the Champions Cup. This year’s Saudi Cup champion Panthalassa (JPN, H6, by Lord Kanaloa), who passed up a trip to the U.K. in order to recover from desmitis in his right foreleg, was initially planned to make his comeback in the Champions Cup but will return a week earlier in the Japan Cup.

February Stakes (G1, dirt, 1,600m) champion Lemon Pop (USA, H5, by Lemon Drop Kid) claimed the Mile Championship Nambu Hai (dirt, 1,600m) on October 9 in dominant fashion, wining wire-to-wire as he separated from the field by an astonishing 2.0-second margin. He will now step up in distance for the first time in the 1,800-meter Champions Cup. Geoglyph (JPN, C4, by Drefong), winner of last year’s Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, 2,000m) and fourth in the Saudi Cup earlier in the season, but below par since then and coming off a ninth in the Mile Championship Nambu Hai, is hoped to bounce back in the Champions Cup.

King’s Sword (JPN, C4, by Sinister Minister) was sent to post fourth favorite in the JBC Classic (dirt, 2,000m) on November 3 and scored his third consecutive victory by an impressive four lengths, ahead of 2022 Japan Dirt Derby (dirt, 2,000m) winner Notturno (JPN, C4, by Heart’s Cry), defending champion and 2021 Best Dirt Horse T O Keynes (JPN, H6, by Sinister Minister), and back-to-back Teio Sho victor Meisho Hario (JPN, H6, by Pyro) in second, third and fourth, respectively. The Sinister Minister colt will aim for his first international G1 next in the Tokyo Daishoten (G1, dirt, 2,000m) on December 29. Meanwhile, T O Keynes, Meisho Hario, Notturno and three-time NAR graded winner Wilson Tesoro (JPN, C4, by Kitasan Black), who also finished fifth in the JBC Classic, will head for the Champions Cup. The JRA dirt G1 will also include Icon Tailor (JPN, M5, by Duramente), who captured the JBC Ladies’ Classic (dirt, 1,800m) title as race favorite on the same day as the JBC Classic. The Duramente mare, who claimed the major NAR dirt title in only her third run after switching from turf, is hoped to become the first female to win the Champions Cup since Sambista in 2015.

The Miyako Stakes (G3, dirt, 1,800m) on November 5, one of the Champions Cup trials, was won by Seraphic Call (JPN, C3, by Henny Hughes), the first three-year-old colt winner and undefeated in five starts since his debut in February. Dry Stout (JPN, C4, by Sinister Minister) notched his third grade-race victory in the Musashino Stakes (G3, dirt, 1,600m), another trial held on November 11, but his connections decided against starting him in the Champions Cup and instead will give the colt plenty of rest to prepare for his five-year-old campaign.

This year’s Champions Cup field will also include Hagino Alegrias (JPN, H6, by Kizuna), winner of the Sirius Stakes (G3, dirt, 2,000m) on September 30 and Dura Erede (JPN, C3, by Duramente), victor of the 2022 Hopeful Stakes (G1, 2,000m) and runner-up in the 2023 UAE Derby (G2, dirt, 1,900m).

Meanwhile, fourteen Japanese horses are slated to race in the Hong Kong International Races on December 10. Aiming to become the seventh Japanese winner following Loves Only You (2021) in the Hong Kong Cup are:

  • Hishi Iguazu (JPN, H7, by Heart’s Cry), runner-up in the 2021 edition of this race, who is hoped to bounce back from a ninth-place finish in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1, 2,000m) on October 29.
  • Prognosis (JPN, H5, by Deep Impact), runner-up in the Hong Kong’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1, 2,000m) in April and coming off a third in the Tenno Sho (Autumn).
  • Rousham Park (JPN, C4, by Harbinger), who registered back-to-back graded victories in the Hakodate Kinen (G3, 2,000m) in July and the All Comers (G2, 2,200m) in September.

Scheduled to race in the Hong Kong Mile (G1, 1,600m) and hoping to follow in the footsteps of Admire Mars, the last (2019) of four Japanese winners, are:

  • Danon the Kid (JPN, H5, by Just a Way), runner-up in last year’s Hong Kong Cup who finished fifth in his first autumn start in the Mile Championship (G1, 1,600m) on November 19.
  • Divina (JPN, M5, by Maurice), victor of the Fuchu Himba Stakes who is coming off a seventh in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1, 2,200m) on November 12.
  • Namur (JPN, F4, by Harbinger), who captured her long-awaited first G1 title in the Mile Championship, her eighth attempt at the highest level.
  • Serifos (JPN, C4, by Daiwa Major), who was aiming to defend his title in the Mile Championship but finished eighth.
  • Soul Rush (JPN, H5, by Rulership), two-time graded winner who was a neck second in the Mile Championship.

Bidding to bring home another Japanese victory in the Hong Kong Sprint (G1, 1,200m) after Lord Kanaloa (2012-13) and Danon Smash (2020) are:

  • Jasper Krone (USA, C4, by Frosted), winner of the CBC Sho (G3, 1,200m) in July and the Kitakyushu Kinen (G3, 1,200m) in August, but 12th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1, 1,000m) on November 4.
  • Mad Cool (IRE, C4, by Dark Angel), who is coming off a runner-up effort in his first G1 attempt in the Sprinters Stakes (G1, 1,200m) on October 1.

The Hong Kong Vase (G1, 1,200m) will be challenged by four Japanese runners hoping to repeat the victories by Glory Vase in 2021 and Win Marilyn last year:

  • Geraldina (JPN, M5, by Maurice), winner of the 2022 Queen Elizabeth II Cup but fifth this year.
  • Lebensstil (JPN, C3, by Real Steel), who claimed his first grade-race title in his previous start, the St. Lite Kinen (G2, 2,200m) on September 18.
  • Shahryar (JPN, H5, by Deep Impact), a two-time G1 winner who is coming off a third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1, 2,400m) on November 4.
  • Zeffiro (JPN, C4, by Deep Impact), winner of the Copa Republica Argentina (G2, 2,500m) on November 5.
Crown Pride,
winner of 2022 UAE Derby
Gloria Mundi,
winner of 2023 Heian Stakes
Lemon Pop,
winner of 2023 February Stakes
winner of 2022 Satsuki Sho
winner of 2022 Japan Dirt Derby
T O Keynes,
winner of 2021 Champions Cup
Meisho Hario,
winner of 2022 Teio Sho
Seraphic Call,
winner of 2023 Miyako Stakes
Hagino Alegrias,
winner of 2023 Sirius Stakes
Dura Erede,
winner of 2022 Hopeful Stakes
Hishi Iguazu,
winner of 2023 Nakayama Kinen
winner of 2023 Sapporo Kinen
Rousham Park,
winner of 2023 All Comers
Danon the Kid,
winner of 2020 Hopeful Stakes
winner of 2023 Fuchu Himba Stakes
winner of 2023 Mile Championship
winner of 2022 Mile Championship
Soul Rush, winner of
2023 Keisei Hai Autumn Handicap
Jasper Krone,
winner of 2023 Kitakyushu Kinen
winner of 2022 Queen Elizabeth II Cup
winner of 2023 St. Lite Kinen
winner of 2021 Tokyo Yushun
Zeffiro, winner of
2023 Copa Republica Argentina