Horse Racing By Jon Ivan-Duke

Harp Star Heads Japan Cup Betting

The home nation have won the last eight renewals of the Japan Cup and the betting is dominated by Japanese-trained horses again this year.

Gentildonna is bidding to win the race for a third year in a row and is at 4-1 in the betting, but it’s Harp Star who is the 11-4 favourite with William Hill. Harp Star was 6th in the Arc, but was given far too much to do and stayed on like a demon up the straight at Longchamp. Impressive Dubai Duty Free winner Just A Way is at 9-2 in the market and is likely to be another significant challenger.

“It would be a complete shock if the Japan Cup wasn’t won by a home horse,” said William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke. “The Japanese horses were very popular in the Arc and we expect a good spread of money across the race, though British punters may be swayed towards Gentildonna due to the ‘Ryan Moore Factor’.”

The last non-Japanese horse to land the prize was Alkaased in 2005, trained by Luca Cumani and ridden by Frankie Dettori. The shortest-priced foreign challengers with William Hill this time round are at 16-1; the Jean-Pierre Carvalho-trained Ivanhowe and Jim Bolger’s Trading Leather.

Japan Cup: 11-4 Harp Star,  4-1 Gentildonna, 9-2 Just A Way, 8-1 Isla Bonita, Spielberg, 14-1 Epiphaneia, One And Only, 16-1 Ivanhowe, Trading Leather, 20-1 Denim And Ruby, Fenomeno, Lachesis, 25-1 Hit The Target, 50-1 Decipher, Tamamo Best Play, Up With The Birds, 66-1 Tosen Jordan, 100-1 Uncoiled, 150-1 Satono Shuren, (EW 1/5 Odds Places 1,2,3)