This year’s Japan Cup is a once-in-a-century spectacle in the history of Japanese horse racing. Triple Crown winners Contrail and Daring Tact will go head to head. In addition, Japan’s superstar racehorse Almond Eye will make her last run. This historic race of the century will take place at Tokyo Racecourse on November 29 this week.
Who to bet on?
Almond Eye, Contrail or Daring Tact? That’s the question. This is an exciting week in Japan, grabbing national media headlines and heating up the debate . In the past, Gentildonna and Almond Eye won the Japan Cup after winning the Shuka Sho. Will Almond Eye be superior, given her record and performance over the past years?
According to a survey among the employees of major training centers, nearly half of respondents back Almond Eye. “If you consider her overall racing experience, the horses she competed, the jockey, she will come up on top. In the Japan Cup, as it starts in front of the stand, even more so. The past racing experience counts”, as one of the respondents explained. There were many who emphasized the outstanding performance record of Almond Eye’ in comparison to that of Contrail and Daring Tact.
In addition, some respondents have high expectations such as “it will be her best run because it is the final race.” There was also a jockey who expressed his reason for betting on Almond Eye as “I want to ride this horse the most.”
On the other hand, Contrail is praised for his talent as well as his legs as distinct from other horses of the same generation. Those respondents claim, “his aptitude is the highest among the three. It is hard to imagine his loss”. Some respondents were concerned about his energy level after the tough race of Kikuka Sho.
Some of the respondents view “53km is advantageous” for Daring Tact and “the other two horses made decisions to run after a long thought, but this horse announced her participation in the race earlier.” However, others highlighted the incomparable performance record of Almond Eye.
Final countdown to big day begins
The Japan Racing Association (JRA) launched a special promotion “Japan Cup Noodles” on November 13. This promotion was designed to energize the historical race with the “stay-at-home” audience. At the time of covid-19, online betting on horses is becoming increasingly popular in Japan and there are a number of Japanese-friendly bookmakers as well.
If it was a normal year, a large crowd of over 100,000 would likely rush to Tokyo Racecourse. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a limited number of lucky visitors can witness this legendary race.