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Japan Cup preview

Unfortunately I haven't had the time to draft a thorough preview for the race, so hear are some quick thoughts:

Internationals have a terrible record in this race in recent years - just four placings (including two wins) in the past decade, from 53 starters. That doesn't look like changing today, the visitors coming from the Melbourne Cup could not be classed as genuine weight-for-age horses and Solemia got lucky on a wet track in the Arc. I'd be surprised if any of them run a place. Mount Athos might be the exception, he's still on the way up in his career, but does switch from handicaps to level weights.

Now onto the locals, in betting order - read this guide from the JRA for more details.

Orfevre is a superstar, but one with flaws, as seen this year in the Hanshin Dai Shoten when he pulled up, then chased the field again and just fall short, then hit the front, be home for all money (traded 1.01 on Betfair) in the Arc de Triomphe, only to wobble and hit the rail in the closing stages and be claimed by Solemia. Huge fan of the horse, can't back him at this sort of price.

Gentildonna is the star 3yo filly of Japan, winning the female Triple Crown, only the fourth filly to achieve the feat. Took 1.7 seconds off the race record in the Oaks, but no filly has tried to win the Japan Cup after taking the Triple Crown in the same year. Owned in same interests as Orfevre (and Rulership & Rose Kingdom), jockey Y.Iwata won last year on Buena Vista.

Rulership won the QEII Cup in Hong Kong earlier in the year, then finished second to Orfevre in the Takarazuka Kinen and third to Eishin Flash in the Tenno Sho (Autumn). To be ridden by Aussie champ Craig Williams, which will make him unders on the Australian totes.

Fenomeno is the star 3yo colt, having been beaten a nose in the Japanese Derby then stepped up to open company in the Tenno Sho (Autumn), beaten a half-length by Eishin Flash and finishing aherad of numerous G1 winners, including Rulership. Exceptional closing speed, loves Tokyo racecourse with three wins and two seconds from five starts here.

Eishin Flash finished eighth in the Japan Cup for the last two years but comes into the race in better form this time, having recently won the Tenno Sho (Autumn), his first win since the Japanese Derby of 2010.

Jaguar Mail - 8yo who has finished fourth and third in the last two years respectively, despite moderate lead-in form. William Buick takes the ride, make sure you put him in if playing exotics!

Rose Kingdom won this race in 2010 but has only greeted the judge first on one occasion in 12 races since. No.

Tosen Jordan was injured in the Tenno Sho (Spring), took six months off then was beaten a long way when resuming in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) a month ago. Second in this race last year, but came into the race in top form, which can't be said this time around...

BETS:
Mostly interested in the trifecta here. Several combination tickets, based around

Fenomeno & Rulership to win
add Orfevre, Gentildonna, Jaguar Mail and Eishin Flash for second
add Tosen Jordan and Dark Shadow for third

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