Another weekend means another high-class action in Japan as Sunday belongs to dirt specialists who will clash in the G1 Champions Cup at Chukyo, where white Sodashi is about to hit such a surface for the first time. Saturday then brings the G3 Challenge Cup at Hanshin and the Stayers Stakes at Nakayama. This time we bring you the Japan horse racing tips and previews for this weekend.

Challenge Cup

The G3 event held at the Hanshin Racecourse is open to three-year-old and older horses who will compete for the purse of 77,860,000 Yen.

11 participants will hit the turf track and cover the distance of a mile and a quarter, while five-year-old Meiner Virtus (113-10) seems to have strong claims to score his very first Grade race. The Toru Miya bound horse has been collecting prizes in Stakes races throughout his career, and after bagging other two victories at the scene, he tried the G3 company. He failed to impress; however, his next outings resulted in fourth and second places in the G2 events, while especially his form when running in second in the Copa Republica Argentina was immensely boosted by its winner’s, Authority, bold performance in the Japan Cup.

Meiner Virtus simply looks to be in fine shape and should play a major role in Saturday’s race; however, he’s about to meet some hugely interesting horses, including Persian Knight (49-10). The seven-year-old horse bettered Meiner Virtus in the G2 Sapporo Kinen as he finished third, but it happened in August, while in October, he managed only seventh in the G1 Tenno Sho. Still, the competition in Saturday’s event won’t be that harsh, rendering Persian Knight one of the favourites.

Yasutoshi Ikee’s charge finished second in the 2000 Guineas and scored the G1 Mile Championship back in 2017, but these times are long gone, and the veteran may have to fight for the glory with much younger rivals once again, for example, with So Valiant (17-10). The talented three-year-old bagged two victories in Sapporo in summer, upon which he had to settle for second in the G2 Asahi Hai St. Lite Kinen. It was a good effort from the colt, and given he’s got Christophe Lemaire aboard, he needs to belong among leading chances.

The second three-year-old in the field is Geraldina (11-10), a daughter of phenomenal Gentildonna, who’s been showing some form in her last three starts, while the last participant to mention is four-year-old Heat On Beat (72-5), placed second in G2 in May. He should be classy enough to shine here, yet he might need a longer distance.

Horse Racing Odds & Prediction 

GeraldinaY. Fukunaga
KatsujiY. Iwata
Meisho OpusH. Miyuki
Meiner VirtusM. Demuro
Scar FaceT. Danno
Heat on BeatY. Kawada
Persian KnightM. Iwata
Meiner FlapY. Kokubun
Al JannahY.Take
Mozu NagareboshiK. Matusyama
So ValiantC. Lemaire
Japan horse racing tips

Our betting pick for the Challenge Cup is So Valiant as he’s a big, talented colt who should benefit from Saturday’s distance. 

Stayers Stakes

In this G2 turf race held at the distance of two miles, 13 three-year-old and older super stayers will fight for the purse of 119,820,000 Yen.

On the turf surface, most of the participants must have undergone some improvement in terms of forms as their most recent outings weren’t impressive by any means, except five-year-old Caudillo (13-1) trained by Noriyuki Hori. Despite being unplaced at the Grade scene, he’s bagged some wins in Stakes races, including his start in the Tancho Stakes in September, where he triumphed by a neck in front of Bozzhira (12-1). The latter carried slightly more than the victor; therefore, their chances seem to be equal for Saturday’s race as they’re about to carry the same weight here; still, Caudillo was given more rest prior to this tilt as Bozzhira finished 15th in the G2 Copa Republica Argentina in the meantime.

The mentioned G2 attracted some other contestants, running in Saturday’s race, too, for example, Admire Alba (107-5) or Iron Barrows (101-10). Neither of them placed here as Admire Alba was ninth and Iron Barrows sixth, yet especially the latter four-year-old colt displayed some class in spring, and if he manages to draw on these performances, he might be a big player on Saturday.

Both Silver Sonic (101-10) and Valcos (29-2) are also in the mix as they bagged Stakes victories over long distances, but the race simply seems wide open without a clear favourite.

Horse Racing Entries & Prediction 

ValerioA. Tsumura
ValcosK. Miura
AstiY. Shibata
Man of SpiritK. Tosaki
Iron BarowsS. Ishibashi
Admire AlbaY. Yoshida
Seda BrillantesY. Ishikawa
Tosen CambinaT. Yokoyama
BozzhiraA. Sugawara
CaudilloT. Ono
Divine ForceH. Tanabe
GhostK. Sameshima
Silver SonicH. Uchida
Japan horse racing tips

Our betting pick for the Stayers Stakes is Caudillo, as he looks to be the only participant whose form is unquestionable; moreover, he’s been granted enough time to rest between races.

The Champions Cup

The dirt surface and a distance of a mile and a furlong await 16 three-year-old and older horses in this prestigious Japanese G1 race with the purse of 194,860,000 Yen.

Although she’s not the favourite at the moment, three-year-old Sodashi (7-2) attracts the most attention in the field as the white filly trained by Naosuke Sugai won two G1 races, including the 1000 Guineas. She then scored the G2 Sapporo Kinen, facing a strong competition of older rivals; however, she had nothing to offer in both G1 Japanese Oaks and Shuka Sho. She’s about to hit the dirt track for the first time, but if she handles it, her claims are pretty high as she’ll meet a bit weaker company here than on the turf surface. Sodashi should also benefit from the shorter distance here.

Another participant deserving to be mentioned right away is the six-year-old horse Chuwa Wizard (43-2), attempting a back-to-back success at Chukyo as he scored it in 2020 after finishing fourth in 2019. Moreover, Chuwa Wizard ran in second in the G1 Dubai World Cup in March, and as his previous start was more or less of the same quality as in the season 2020 before he went on to win the Champions Cup, he should be once more considered a worthy opponent here. The same applies to Inti (45-1), a seven-year-old horse who placed third in the last two editions of the race.

T O Keynes (7-10) has been quite consistent throughout his career, and as a four-year-old, he might improve once more and record his first G1 victory after being successful at the G3 scene, while Sunrise Hope (31-5) owns a similar profile. The last to mention is Cafe Pharoah (28-1), who was sixth in the last year’s edition of the race; however, he then scored the G1 February Stakes. His next two outings weren’t exciting at all, so he received some rest, and on Saturday, he’s about to return after four months off. 

Horse Racing Entries & Prediction 

SodashiH. Yoshida
Casino FountainM. Demuro
Sunrise NovaF. Matsuwaka
IntiY. Take
Air SpinelK. Fujioka
T O KeynesK. Matsuyama
Sunrise HopeH. Miyuki
Suave AramisD. Matsuda
AuvergneY. Fukunaga
K T BraveH. Uchida
Another TruthR. Sakai
ClincherY. Kawada
Chuwa WizardK. Tosaki
Danon PharaohT. Yokoyama
Meisho HarioS. Hamanaka
Cafe PharoahC. Lemoore
Japan horse racing tips

Our betting pick for the Champions Cup is:

Sodashi. Maybe it’s risky to trust her again after two huge disappointments; moreover, when running on dirt for the first time, yet we know she’s classy and hard trying when she wants to. Only Chuwa Wizard seems to match her class, but he succumbed to T O Keynes in spring considerably, so if somebody beats Sodashi, it probably will be the latter.   

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