The World Super Jockey’s Challenge & Japan Cup – From Simon Bray

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I am writing this blog before I depart from LAX to cover the World Super Jockey’s Challenge and Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse on Saturday, November 27th and Sunday, November 28th.  We will also bring live coverage of the Japan Cup Dirt from Hanshin racecourse on December 5th. This will be the fourth time in the last five years I have had the pleasure of covering one of the most prestigious turf races in the world. This year marks the 30th running with a total purse of just over $5 million. Foreign horses have won this race 14 times  but only two have scored since 1997, showing the remarkable improvement and rise of the Japanese breeding program to produce world class horses in recent years. There will be a strong European contingent this year, but unfortunately Snow Fairy, recent winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Stakes at Kyoto, will not run as scheduled, but has the Japan Cup 2011 as a major target. The foreign entries this year are made up of four from France (Cirrus des Aisles, Marinous, Mores Well, Timos) and one each from Great Britain (Dandino), Ireland (Joshua Tree), Italy (Voila Ici) and Canada (Fifty Proof). The locals will be well represented this year by a bevy of Grade 1 winners which include Nakayama Festa (who was 2nd in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe behind Workforce), Buena Vista (Tenno Sho Autumn winner) and last years’ runner up Oken Bruce Lee. Also Eishin Flash (Japanese Derby winner) is scheduled to go postward along with Tenno Sho Spring winner, Jaguar Mall and Japanese 2000 Guineas winner, Victiore Pisa. This will be one of the deepest Japanese representations in recent years and will provide for a great betting race. The pomp and circumstance of the Japan Cup is something really unseen in US racing. It makes for a great spectacle and is well worth watching. Todd Schrupp and I will be bringing all the live action from Tokyo this weekend, both Saturday and Sunday night. Follow Simon's Daily Japan Cup Blog

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