Japan is the breeding ground for some of the world’s best horses, and it is fair to say that their major feature races rank amongst the best contests anywhere on the planet.
The Japan Cup is one of those races, and a particularly exciting edition of the mile-and-a-half classic will be contested in Tokyo on Sunday, pitting the champion Almond Eye against fellow champions Contrail and Daring Tact, all Triple Crown winners, as well as several other above-average athletes.
I’ve run the rule over the field, and you can find my 2020 Japan Cup tips below.
It’s her racing swansong before she retires into what will surely be a successful career as a broodmare, and I’ve put Almond Eye on top of my Japan Cup tips.
The champion daughter of Lord Kanaloa has recorded ten impressive wins and a further three minors from her fourteen career starts to date and has put paid to world class fields more often than not.
She returned to the races earlier this month for a lovely win in the Group 1 Tenno Sho and will only improve for that effort.
That win saw her become the first Japanese-bred horse to win eight Group 1 races on turf, and winning this race would be a fitting end to her racing tenure.
I am a big fan of Contrail, and I think that he represents the biggest threat to Almond Eye in the Japan Cup 2020.
The talented son of Deep Impact doesn’t have a blemish on his record, having recorded seven wins from as many starts since debuting in 2019.
Having ended his last prep with a comfortable win in the Japanese Derby, Contrail picked up where he left off with another easy win in the Group 2 Kobe Shimbun Hai and completed an ideal lead-in to this race by winning the Group 1 Japanese St Leger last time out.
Fitter third-up, out in trip, he’ll certainly be in the finish again.
Daring Tact has had five starts for as many wins, and is the clear third pick in the Japanese Cup.
The daughter of Epiphaneia won her only start as a two-year-old and has only continued to improve with each start in the wake, and as the bar has been raised.
She returned from a break to win the Group 1 Shuka Sho last month and is another horse that will take improvement from the hit-out, and getting further out in trip.
Daring Tact will have no excuses in this contest and is primed for another big effort.
We’re getting a big price for every horse horses in the 2020 Japan Cup field, and I’ve certainly seen worse $51 shots than Kiseki.
The Rulership entire has recorded four wins and a further nine minors from twenty career starts to date, and has raced well all over the globe.
He’ll resume from a decent spell in this race, but his fresh form has always been competitive, and barring the top three, he is certainly up to the class of everything else in this race.