2022 Arima Kinen & Hanshin Cup Odds and Betting Picks

Japan’s racing media is abuzz ahead of a Christmas Day clash in which form lines converge for a classic edition of the country’s biggest race.

Arima Kinen

Grade 1 – Purse $5,450,000 – 2500 metres – Turf – 3-Year-Olds and Up

Sunday sees top class Grade 1 action from Nakayama in Japan with over $5 million up for grabs in the year ending Arima Kinen.

This will be the 67th running of the race, which was formerly known as the Nakayama Grand Prix and has been won by some great horses, including Symboli Kris S who won back to back in 2002 & 2003 as well as Orfevre who won in 2011 & 2013.

For a betting angle, then look out for runners from Owners Sunday Racing who have won this race four times in the last ten years, and they are represented by Geraldina this time around.

The three-year-old Boldog Hos has been in excellent form this season, and last time was a superb second in The Japanese St Leger where he came from far back and closed strongly to the wire. The cutback in distance is a slight negative, but they are sure to go fast here.

One of the likely favorites here is the Sunday Racing-owned Geraldina who has won her last two races, including the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Cup last time in sloppy conditions. That race was over 300 meters (one and a half furlongs) shorter and she is no certainty to stay the extra distance here.

In fourth in that race was the previous year’s QE2 Cup winner Akai Ito and he looked like a very unlucky loser. Held up off the fast early pace, he got caught for speed as they entered the stretch run and closed very strongly. At possible rewarding odds on the board, he is interesting for exotics players.

Last year’s winner Efforia has had two runs since that victory and showed he retains all his ability with a strong closing effort last time over shorter. He’ll appreciate the stretch-out here and is a big danger to all.

The three-year-old Equinox has done very little wrong in his career so far with three wins from five runs, and he has finished runner-up in the other two. This is definitely his toughest assignment to date and against these older horses, he may just find a few too good. He closed well for second in the Japanese Derby so the extra 100 meters (half a furlong) should not be an issue.

We have to mention Titleholder who has won three from his last four and he was not disgraced last time in the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe in France, and back on home soil, he is sure to be one of the favorites on the board.

Arima Kinen Odds & Betting Picks

Akai ItoH.Miyuki+4710
Izu Jo no KisekiY.IwataScratched
Boldog HosY.Fukunaga+1380
Vela AzulK.Matsuyama+820
Win MightyR.Wada+19100
Justin PalaceT.Marquand+3110
Last DraftK.MiuraScratched
Deep BondY.Kawada+4710

A huge purse and a very high-quality field and one that has to be fancied to hit the board is the three-year-old Boldog Hos who will surely be closing in late off the guaranteed fast pace. He looks like a great play for exotics punters.

It’s a really tough call to choose a winner but the main fancy is last year’s winner EFFORIA. He looks to have been primed for a repeat bid here and could be seen closing well last time and he’ll be bigger odds and a bit of value this time around.

Expect Equinox and Akai Ito to make bold efforts and they could both grab a share underneath.

The Hanshin Cup

Grade 2 – Purse $967,000 – 1400 metres – Turf – 3-Year-Olds and Up

Saturday sees the 17th running of the Hanshin Cup which is one of the final graded races of the season in Japan. It is always a good strategy to look at horses ridden by the top European Jockeys, as they have won six of the last ten runnings of this race.

We have 18 runners due to line up at 3.45 pm local time, and this promises to be a very competitive race for a total prize fund close to $1 million.

Bathrat Leon is a high-class racehorse, and he put up a solid run returning from a short lay last time. That run in a Grade 3 will have put him spot on from a fitness perspective and his previous Grade 1 form could make him very tough to beat.

After having a break following his run in the Grade 1 Yasuda Kinen back in June, Diatonic has returned from the layoff in top form with two very good runs. He was 4th in the Grade 1 Sprinters Stakes before following that with a win in Grade 2 company last time over this course and distance.

The Frankel Colt Grenadier Guards won this race last year after previously running badly in his previous start. It is the same scenario this year after he was well beaten when finishing 19th last time. He comes here off a lay and will do well to win this time around, but could be one for exotics.

Le Plus Fort has won two of his last four but finished third behind Diatonic last time, so has work to do to turn that form around. However, his overall profile seems to be showing improvement and he could be a player underneath.

Travesura has been one of the most consistent horses in Japan over the last three years and has won nearly $2 million dollars in prize money and his recent runs tell us he is as good as ever. He might find one or two too good here but has solid claims of a share of this valuable purse.

Triple Ace has been running well in slightly lower grade but could be one to include in exotics at big odds.

Hanshin Cup Odds & Betting Predictions

Opal CharmeF.Matsuwaka+22400
Kaiser MinoruK.Ogino+6360
King of KojiN.Yokoyama+4920
Grenadier GuardsC.Demuro+430
Daimei FujiY.Hishida+11100
Triple AceY.Fukunaga+2160
Bathrat LeonY.Kawada+1030
Purpur RayA.Nishimura+14900
Mikki BrillanteR.Wada+8940
Meisho TitanK.Kokubun+6360
Right on CueY.Furukawa+8940
Lauda SionB.Murzabayev+7430
Luce CarinaM.Demuro+980
Le Plus FortY.Take+7990
Lotus LandM.Iwata+460

A race that is high on quantity but not such a deep race in terms of quality for a Grade 2. The one horse in form is Diatonic and he looks sure to run a big race and should be in the top three on the boards.

Without a doubt, the class act here is BATHRAT LEON and he should prove very difficult to beat if getting a good position early and should have too much class for these rivals.

Of the others then the highly consistent Travesura and possible longshot Triple Ace are others of interest.

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