Aidan O’Brien hoping to strike gold with two runners in Japan Cup

Broome and Japan aim to become just the second Irish-trained horse to win race

Broome and Ryan Moore will attempt to win the Japan Cup for Aidan O’Brien. Photo: Getty Images

Broome and Ryan Moore will attempt to win the Japan Cup for Aidan O’Brien. Photo: Getty Images

 

Just a single Irish-trained horse has been successful in the Japan Cup’s 40 year history but Aidan O’Brien will try to put that statistic right early on Sunday morning in Tokyo.

Both Broome (Ryan Moore) and the aptly named Japan (Yutaka Take) take their chance in the $3 million highlight of the Japanese racing year which is due off at 6.40 am Irish-time.

The Japan Cup has proved elusive since the Frank Dunne owned and trained Stanerra famously emerged on top in the mile and half turf heat in 1983.

O’Brien has failed in the past with Group 1 horses such as Powerscourt and Joshua Tree while sadly Jim Bolger’s Curragh Derby winner Trading Leather sustained fatal injuries in the race in 2014.

The latest Irish challengers are owned by the Japanese businessman Masaaki Matsushima and both line up on the back of running in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar.

Broome was the stable outsider on that occasion but looked a likely winner until headed in the final strides by Yibir.

Japan was fourth at Del Mar and has been handed an outside draw in stall 18 of the 18 runners. However he does have the most successful jockey in the race’s history as Take has won four times before.

Moore, a Japan Cup winner on Gentildonna in 2013, will break from stall three, next to the odds-on favourite Contrail.

Victory for either Ballydoyle hope will break new ground for O’Brien through a Group 1 success in a 10th different racing jurisdiction.

In other news, Ireland’s leading flat jockeys will get an extended four week break and not return to action at Dundalk after Christmas until January 18th.

Horse Racing Ireland confirmed the three all-weather fixtures on January 5th, 7th and 14th will be confined to apprentices claiming 5lbs or more and riders who rode less than 20 winners last season.

The move, which was proposed by the Irish Jockeys Association, mirrors the break of 24 days given to jump jockeys during June earlier this year.

Jennifer Pugh, the IHRB’s Senior Medical Officer, commented: “”With a busy all-weather season now in place, in what was typically the off-season for Flat jockeys, they now remain busy for 12 months of the year, with no opportune time for rest and recuperation while racing continues.

“The mental health issues and high level of burnout faced by jockeys have been well documented by the Irish Jockey Research Group, so it is welcome to see the findings and recommendations of these studies come to fruition to further enhance jockey wellbeing.”

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