Japan superstar White Filly Sodashi tries the dirt and takes on Cafe Pharoah in Sunday’s Champions Cup – Horse Racing News

There is a slight change of gears next Sunday when the best races in Japan move west from Tokyo to Chukyo Racecourse near Nagoya for the Class 1 Champions Cup. The race started as Japan Cup Dirt in 2000, when it was held in Tokyo over 2,100 meters (approximately 1 5/16 miles). After a few other changes with the venues and the distance of the race, it has been run in Chukyo for 1,800 meters (approximately 1 1/8 miles) since 2014, when it also received its current name, the Champions Cup.

It is an international race and is the last stop in the Japan Autumn International race series. There have been 19 nominations for up to 16 runners this year, and all eyes will be on superstar filly, Sodashi, as she tries to become a first-year winner on turf and gravel. There was one nominated horse from overseas (American Theorem), but the 4 year old American will not be among the riders.

The 22nd Category 1 Champions Cup will be race 11 on the Sunday map in Chukyo, with a local post time of 3:30 p.m. (1:30 a.m.ET). The final composition and the draw will be available later this week.

Here is a look at some of the best land horses expected to compete in the race:

Sodashi: The 3 year old filly by Kurofune is already something of a legend, being such a magnificent white horse, and also proving that she is a bit special on the racetrack too. It will be her first gravel start, however, and she has to overcome her last result, when she finished tenth in the grade 1 Shuka Sho in October, but coach Naosuke Sugai thinks she has what it takes. here.

“On her farm, the off-ground races should be going well, and with the 54kg (119lbs) weight she will be carrying here against the older horses, she must have a good chance. Her hindquarters are more rounded and it looks like she is suitable for grazing, ”said the coach.

This will be Sodashi’s first time to race at Chukyo, and only one of his six wins has come on the left.

Sorcerer Chuwa: The reigning race champion has competed in four races since last year’s victory, including two overseas. In his last race, he finished third in the JBC Classic at Kanazawa over 2,100 meters in November, which again leads him well in this race, where he defends his crown.

Coach Ryuji Okubo said: “He came back from an injury last time, but after taking good care of him he was able to have a solid run.

Jockey Keita Tosaki also noted that running from an inside gate the dirt inside was quite deep and this had some effect on the horse’s performance.

“This next race he will be back on the track where he won last year,” said Tosaki.

The jockey certainly knows the horse well, having ridden it in his last five starts, including the Champions Cup last year.

Pharaoh Cafe: The 4-year-old colt by American Pharoah has an impressive track record in gravel races, having won five of his eight box starts. His last race was the Grade 3 Hakodate Kinen in July, where he finished ninth, in what was his first turf race. Back on earth this time, he should be ready for a big run.

Trainer Noriyuki Hori said, “We passed on the Sapporo Kinen after its run in the Hakodate Kinen and gave it a break on the farm. He returned to the stable on October 9th and has been working well since. Its weight is approximately 519 kg (1,144 lbs). He eats well and is relaxed, which shows that he is in good general condition.

Cafe Pharoah finished sixth in last year’s Champions Cup, starting second seed.

In Keynes: That’s a 50 percent success rate for the 4 year old foal. He was racing his first race in some time in the JBC Classic the last time since winning the Teio Sho in Oi in June. He was fourth in this last race, and coach Daisuke Takayanagi believes he is better than this result suggests.

“It was his first race in a while last time around, and he wasn’t very good on the gate. That and a muddled pace didn’t make a good race for him, although he still ran fairly well. He looks more relaxed now and he will be back in Chukyo where he has shown he can win, ”the coach said recently.

Sinister Minister’s horse is expected to be ridden by jockey Kohei Matsuyama.

Casino fountain: The Funabashi-based NAR racer has never raced other than in NAR races, but with 23 races in his career, he has won 12 times and amassed over JPY 200 million on the NAR circuit.

Coach Takayuki Yamashita commented: “He was pretty pissed off in the preliminaries the last time before the JBC Classic, and it seemed to cost him the race. Also competing in right-handed, he did not react very well and could not continue until the finish. However, he came out of the race well and is not at all tired.

Jockey Mirco Demuro was booked to ride the 5 year old by Casino Drive, in a daring attempt to hit the big time here.

Inti: Now 7 years old, Inti is still an interesting horse to watch, and has finished third in the Champions Cup for the past two years. Once again, trainer Kenji Nonaka and jockey Yutaka Take team up for another effort to secure a victory in the race. The horse just finished fourth at the Nambu Hai Mile Championship over 1,600 meters in Morioka in October, making it the same rotation as last year before this race.

“It was one of his smoothest runs of his life the last time around, and although he wasn’t perfect in the finish, he used his legs well. He took a short break at the farm, with this race as his next goal, ”said coach Nonaka.

The hope of the sunrise: The 4-year-old by Majestic Warrior is an interesting runner here, having finished first or second in four of his last five starts, which include a victory in his most recent race, the Sirius Stakes Grade 3 over 1,900 meters at Chukyo in October . Trainer Tomohiko Hatsuki is happy with the horse’s progress.

“There are two starts, he wasn’t suited to the tight Kokura track, but back where he was successful last time around, he ran a smooth race, got a good forward position and managed to keep going and win. Afterwards, I thought about this race for him, ”said the coach recently.

Jockey Hideaki Miyuki, who caused quite a stir in the recent Queen Elizabeth II Cup, will once again ride Sunrise Hope.

Meisho Hario: The famous Meisho colors will be worn by the 4-year-old colt by Pyro, and he has now managed to finish in the top two of his last four races, including a narrow victory in his last race, the Grade 3 Miyako Stakes over 1,800 meters in Hanshin in November.

Recent comments from the team’s assistant coaching staff were as follows: “He was challenged at the end of his last race by the outside horse who eventually finished second, but found a little more, so it was a good performance to get the win. He came out of the race very well.

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