One of the most prestigious turf races of the racing calendar will take place this weekend. Inform your Japan Cup predictions ahead of Sunday's race with Pinnacle's insight and analysis.
The Japan Cup is one of the most prestigious races in Japan and is traditionally contested on the last Sunday of November in Tokyo. The race is run over 2400 metres (a mile and a half) and carries a purse of just over 864,000,000 JPY (over $7 million) in prize money.
This race starts at 7.40am CET on Sunday, and the winner will pocket an astounding 400,000,000 JPY (just under $3.5 million). Japanese trainers will bid to continue the domination that has seen Japanese-trained winners every year since 2005.
Japan Cup 2022: Shahryar is the one to beat
Home hopes are led this year by Hideaki Fujiwara's Shahryar, the ante-post favourite to lift the Japan Cup crown. He was spotted this summer at Royal Ascot, where he finished fourth in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes which was won by State Of Rest for Joseph O'Brien.
On his most recent start, he finished fifth in the Grade 1 Tenno Sho race, which was run over 2000 metres in Tokyo in late October. That run is expected to leave him sharp for his second crack at the Japan Cup, having finished third as Contrail won 12 months ago.
His closest rival in the betting is Danon Beluga from the in-form trainer Noriyuki Hori. He is a lightly-raced three-year-old colt with just four starts behind him and has won twice in Tokyo already, though his only loss came at this track when tackling the Japan Cup distance in May in the Japanese Derby.
Japan Cup 2022: The European challenge is plentiful
Since Alkaased won the prize in 2005 for jockey Frankie Dettori and trainer Luca Cumani, the only European horse to place in a Japan Cup is Ouija Board, who was third in 2006, while Dunaden (2013), Idaho (2017), and Grand Glory (2021) have all run respectably – each finishing fifth.
There are four European contenders in the Japan Cup this year
There are set to be four European contenders in 2022, the biggest contingent in a decade. They are led by the returning Grand Glory for French-based, Italian-born trainer Gianluca Bietolini. He was last spotted finishing well from an impossible position to end up fifth in the l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in early October and will once again be ridden by Maxime Guyon in Tokyo.
Onesto failed to handle the deep ground at Longchamp in the l'Arc de Triomphe, but his narrow defeat before that behind Luxembourg in the Irish Champion Stakes a show of high-class form, and he could rebound with Christophe Lemaire – a jockey with plenty of experience riding in Japan – in the saddle.
Simca Mille, who chased home Onesto in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris and then won the Prix Niel on Arc Trials day for trainer Stephane Wattel, completes a trio of French-based runners headed for the Japan Cup.
The other European runner hails from Germany. Tunnes is a half-brother to 2021 l'Arc de Triomphe winner Torquator Tasso and he comes here off the back of a win in the Group 1 Grosser Allianz-Preis von Bayern.
Trainer Peter Schiergen has previous experience in the race, sending out Danedream who was sixth after being the favourite back in 2011.Who will win the grand prize? Find the latest horse racing odds ahead of the Japan Cup with Pinnacle.