By Jon Lees
Japan: For the first time in its history Japan is to host a face-off between the male and female Triple Crown winners after the Japan Cup on November 29 was confirmed as the next target for champion colt Contrail.
The news means that Contrail – who became only the third undefeated horse to win the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas), Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) and Kikuka Sho (Japanese St Leger) – is on course to meet the also unbeaten Daring Tact, who won the fillies’ equivalent the Triple Tiara, the Oka Sho, Yushun Himba and Shuka Sho.
Contrail’s trainer Yoshito Yahagi said the colt had recovered remarkably well from his tussle with Aristoteles, who he beat by a neck in the Kikuka Sho over 1m7f at Kyoto racecourse on October 25.
Yahagi said he had considered how exciting it would be for Japanese fans to have a race between Contrail and Daring Tact and decided to commit to the challenge after discussions with the owner. As long as the horse remained in good shape he would be trained for the Japan Cup, he added.
Contrail has won all seven of his starts to become the number one horse in the world in the Thoroughbred Racing Commentary Global Rankings.
Daring Tact, who has won five out of five, was already confirmed for the Japan Cup in which she would bid to emulate two other fillies’ Triple Crown winners Almond Eye and Gentildonna to win the all-aged championship.
Almond Eye, successful in 2018, could be in the line-up too with her connections still to announce her next target after she notched a record eight G1 victory in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) last weekend.
The Japan Racing Association has issued eight invitations to runners from overseas. France’s Way To Paris, last seen finishing ninth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, has become the first to accept.
Japan Cup match betting (Ladbrokes): 4-5 Contrail, 9-2 Daring Tact