Preview: Gr.1 Champions Cup ( Horses, Where, When, Race Info, 2017 Video, Guide)
Pavel Hopes To Become Champion In Japan
The Gr.1 Champions Cup, has attracted 19 nominations, including top rated American bred Pavel,who becomes the first horse from outside Japan to take on the race since Gun Pit in 2015. The rest of the field, will be made up of some of Japan’s current stars in dirt races.
In the past 10 years, favorites have had a bit of a rough passage, with just three winning, the last being Transcend in 2011. Five-year-olds just have the upper hand, with four of them winning in the last decade, just beating out 4 and 6-year olds, who have won three times apiece.
The race record since the race has been run at Chukyo is held by the last two winners of the race, Gold Dream in 2017, and Sound True in 2016, who both stopped the clock in a time of 1 minute, 50.1 seconds, with the second horse in both those races recording the same times, proving what close finishes there have been recently.
Here’s a look at some of the key contenders in this epic race:
Le Vent Se Leve: The 3-year-old colt by Symboli Kris S is an exciting prospect, winning six of his seven starts and finishing second in the other one. He’s now recorded three straight wins, all of them strong victories, and he impresses his trainer, Kiyoshi Hagiwara.
K T Brave: Coming off a win in the recent JBC Classic over 1,900 meters at Kyoto in November, the 5-year-old has 11 wins and seven seconds from a 31-race career, making him one of the most experienced dirt performers in Japan right now.
Gold Dream: Last year’s dual Gr.1 winner of the February Stakes and Champions Cup, the 5-year-old also finished second in this year’s February Stakes, making him one of the most consistent dirt horses in the country. He’s coming off a second-place finish to Le Vent Se Leve in the Mile Championship Nambu Hai.
Sunrise Soar: A horse that relishes being up with the pace, the 4-year-old colt will have jockey Joao Moreira in the saddle this time, and although it will be the horse’s first time at Chukyo, he has run well at Tokyo on his trips over to that course from his Ritto Training Center base at trainer Hiroshi Kawachi’s stable.
Omega Perfume: Another representing the 3-year-old generation, Omega Perfume has never finished outside the top three in his seven-race career. Bred at Shadai Farm, he was something of a bargain buy at the 2017 Chiba Thoroughbred Sale, and he will be the big race ride of jockey Cristian Demuro on Sunday.
Sunrise Nova: Sire Gold Allure is well represented in the race, and 4-year-old colt Sunrise Nova is in top form, winning his last three races, two of them over 1,600 meters. He’s been sent off favorite in his last five starts and has only been unplaced once in 2018, when he finished fourth in the Gr.1 February Stakes.
Ange Desir: The only filly among the nominations, the daughter of Deep Impact will be taking on her first Gr.1 this time, but is coming off a win in the JBC Ladies Classic last time over 1,800 meters at Kyoto. She is trained by Ritto-based Mitsugu Kon, a six time winner of JRA Gr.1 races.