The Tokyo Racecourse is home to one of the world’s most spectacular horse racing events, the Japan Cup. With prize money of $4 million US Dollars waiting for the winner, the most outstanding horses, top jockeys and leading trainers come to Japan, to put themselves in line for the winners’ circle. The Japan Cup was first held in 1981, and has since grown to be a horse racing calendar event that is attended by the elite of the horse racing industry. It is a race that is filled with all the action, anticipation and glamour that is expected from such a world-class event.
Grade 1 racing seems to be synonymous with the Tokyo Racecourse, as it is also host to leading horse racing events such as the Asian Mile Challenge, the Japan Cup Dirt and the Yasuda Kinen. The racecourse was constructed in 1933 and had a seating capacity of 13,750. Together with standing spectators, the racecourse is able to accommodate 223,000 people. Renovations to the Tokyo Racecourse were started in the year 2000, and have been completed this year, in time for the 2007 Japan Cup, which will take place on 25 November 2007. The renovations added a video screen, the largest in the world, the upgrading of the main grandstand and the addition of a grandstand, which has been named the Memorial 60. The Japan Cup is run on turf, over a distance of 2,400 meters and is a left-handed racecourse.
Three year old horses from across the globe are allowed to enter the race and have seen international competitors from Canada, India, the United States, Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan and France. The very first winner of the Japan Cup was a mare named Mairzy Doates, from the United States, with Deep Impact being the 2006. No horse has ever won the Japan Cup more than once, and few jockeys and trainers have been luckier. Jockey Frankie Dettori has been in the winner circle three times, on Singspiel in 1996, Falbrav in 2002 and Alkaased in 2005. Michael Stoute, a leading trainer, saw two of his horses win the Japan Cup in 1996 with Singspiel and 1997 with Pilsudski.
Due to the high caliber horses that are entered in the Japan Cup, it has always been a racing event that is known for its spectacular showdowns, hair splitting finishes and fast paced racing. This year should be no different. With screaming fans, hopeful punters and owners with expectations and dreams, all that remains is for the horses to dig deep and perform at their best. Seeing these magnificent animals in motion is an experience of excitement, wonder and beauty. Praise should go to horses that will once again come to the Japan Cup, to run to the best of their abilities and make their countries proud.