Epiphaneia sat a nice trip en route to a big win in Sunday's Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse, drawing off through the straight to win by four lengths over Just a Way and Spielberg. Champion filly Gentildonna, aiming for a third win in the Japan Cup, had to settle for fourth this time.
Ridden by Christophe Soumillon, the Katsuhiko Sumii-trained Epiphaneia registered his first win of the season after going winless in three previous starts, including a fourth in Hong Kong's Queen Elizabeth II Cup. He is owned by U. Carrot Farm and was bred by Northern Farm. Epiphaneia is a 4-year-old son of Symboli Kris S and American Grade 1 winner Cesario (Special Week).
“It's a great opportunity to come for just a week-end and have such a good ride and win one of the most prestigious race in the world,” said Soumillon. “It means a lot because, as you know, I was unable to win this race with Buena Vista four years ago, and I am very grateful to Mr. Yoshida (Katsumi) for giving me the opportunity to ride this time.”
Trainer Sumii said after the race that “the Arima Kinen would be our immediate plan for next month.”
Final time for the mile and a half Japan Cup was 2:23.1 over firm turf. On-track attendance was reported at 109,956.
Gentildonna, who went off the race favorite, sat close throughout but was unable to make any headway down the stretch under jockey Ryan Moore.
Sam-Son Farm's Up With the Birds sat far back throughout and never got into contention, finishing 16th. Jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva said that “he was a bit too keen today. He missed his break and wasn't able to perform well. I think the surface suits him but the Japanese horses were very strong.”
“He was tense with all the noise from the crowd, but I honestly can't say what the cause was for his defeat,” said trainer Malcom Pierce.
The best of the European contingent was Ivanhowe, representing Germany, who closed to finish sixth. Jockey Filip Minarik said, “It was a great race and I'm thrilled. The ground near the rails was very rough but that's the same in any country. I'm just happy that we were able to be sixth. The horse was appalled at the huge crowd at the starting gate. It was as if we were at a German Bundesliga football game because there were so many people and everyone was shouting.”
Irish Derby winner Trading Leather broke well from his outside post and settled in seventh near Gentildonna and Tosen Jordan. Turning the third corner, the 4-year-old colt sustained a leg fracture and was euthanized after the race.
The full order of finish in the Japan Cup: Epiphaneia, Just a Way, Spielberg, Gentildonna, Harp Star, Ivanhowe, One and Only, Fenomeno, Isla Bonita, Tamamo Best Play, Denim and Ruby, Hit the Target, Uncoiled, Tosen Jordan, Decipher, Up With the Birds, and Satona Shuren. Trading Leather did not finish.
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