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Sunday's Japan Cup Appears Wide Open
With Japanese-trained horses, and those sired by Japanese stallions, beginning to exert a growing influence on Australian racing, this year's Gr1 Japanese Cup is certainly worth keeping an eye on. Set to be run on Sunday in Tokyo at 3.40pm (5.40pm AEDT), the 2019 fixture appears more open than previous contests. According to japanracing.jp, the Y650 million 2400m turf event will, for the first time in its 39 year history, not have at least one foreign runner. With Japanese Champion Almond Eye's connections reserving last year's record-breaking winner for the Hong Kong International Races early next month, the winner could come from any one of 16 local horses, aged between three and seven. They include six Gr1 winners, among them three Gr1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) winners, as well as two 3YO fillies considered good enough to take on the boys. Although there will be no international horses competing this year, there will be plenty of international flavor with the quality overseas jockeys expected to ride in the race. Nearly half of the jockeys expected to ride hail from outside Japan, including Englishman Ryan Moore, Oisin Murphy from Ireland, Belgian Christophe Soumillon, Norwegian-born William Buick, and Frankie Dettori. This year's race has been named in honour of ill-fated Champion Sire Deep Impact, who won this race as a 4YO in 2006.