Champions Cup

Lemon Pop Defies Doubters, History In Champions Cup

In the G1 Champions Cup, one of two elite-level races on dirt on the JRA circuit, wide barriers are almost always the kiss of death. Drawn 15 of 15 for Sunday's 1800-metre event, Godolphin's Lemon Pop (Lemon Drop Kid) not only had that to overcome, but also lingering questions as to his ability to stay a trip this far. After all, his trainer Hiroyasu Tanaka needed some convincing by the Godolphin braintrust to try him in the G1 February S., a 1600-metre affair, which he duly won with something in...

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Lemon Pop Has Work Cut Out In Champions Cup

Godolphin's Lemon Pop (Lemon Drop Kid) has been the best dirt horse in Japan this year at distances up to a mile, but the 5-year-old faces a stamina-stretching test from a horrible draw when he faces 14 others in Sunday's G1 Champions Cup (1800m) at Chukyo Racecourse. A $70,000 Keeneland November weanling purchase, the chestnut won the G3 Negishi S. over 1400 metres at Toyko in January and silenced those who questioned his ability to stay an extra furlong when running out a comfortable winner of the G1 February S....

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T O Keynes Stands Out in Champions Cup

Horse for the course T O Keynes (Jpn) (Sinister Minister) appears a very tough nut to crack in Sunday's G1 Champions Cup (ex Japan Cup Dirt) at Chukyo Racecourse, a race in which he bolted up by a half-dozen lengths over the classy Chuwa Wizard (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}) twelve months ago. The 5-year-old earned a berth in the 2022 G1 Saudi Cup with his victory here last year, but he was disappointing in eighth behind Emblem Road (Quality Road) in Riyadh back in February. He regrouped and validated odds-on...

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All Eyes On Sodashi In Champions Cup

The world's best-known--not to mention most-talented--white Thoroughbred, Sodashi (Jpn) (Kurofune) gets a different sort of test when she tries the dirt for the first time in Sunday's G1 Champions Cup (ex Japan Cup Dirt) at Chukyo Racecourse, a race won in scintillating fashion by her sire 20 years ago. Named the champion of her generation when capping a perfect freshman campaign in the G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies last December, Sodashi resumed with a victory in the G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) over the metric mile Apr. 11, but did...

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Chrysoberyl, Cafe Pharoah Clash in Champions Cup

Chrysoberyl (Jpn) (Gold Allure {Jpn}, the reigning champion dirt horse in Japan, and the nation's top 3-year-old dirt galloper Cafe Pharoah (American Pharoah) meet for the first time in Sunday's G1 Champions Cup (1800m) at Chukyo Racecourse, one of two top-level events on the main track each season. Chrysoberyl is undefeated in eight starts at home, including a narrow defeat of 2017 winner Gold Dream (Jpn) (Gold Allure {Jpn) in this event 12 months ago (see below). Seventh to Maximum Security (New Year's Day) in the US$20-million Saudi Cup in...

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Notable US-Bred Runners in Japan: Dec. 6, 2020

In this continuing series, we take a look ahead at US-bred and/or conceived runners entered for the upcoming weekend at the tracks on the Japan Racing Association circuit, with a focus on pedigree and/or performance in the sales ring. Here are the horses of interest for this weekend running at Nakayama and Chukyo Racecourses. The latter plays host to the G1 Champions Cup Sunday, which features an intriguing clash between reigning Japanese champion dirt horse Chrysoberyl (Jpn) (Gold Allure {Jpn}), the country's top dirt 3-year-old Café Pharoah (American Pharoah) and...

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