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35th Edition of Rich Japan Cup (G1) on Tap

Trip To Paris, fourth in a bruising renewal of the Melbourne Cup (G1) earlier this month, bids to become the first British trained horse in almost a decade to win the Japan Cup (G1), one of the most exciting end-of-year races.

Trained by globe-trotting handler Ed Dunlop at Newmarket in England, the four-year-old faces 17 rivals in his quest to make history and gain compensation for his two-length defeat by Prince Of Penzance in the Australian showpiece.

A winner of the Ascot Gold Cup (G1) during summer, Trip To Paris is among a four-strong European contingent aiming to put an end to the dominance of Japanese-trained runners in the 2400 metre turf contest.

In 34 runnings, 14 foreign-trained winners have triumphed on Japanese soil but not since Luca Cumani was successful with Alkaseed in 2005.

Dunlop was fifth that year and third in 2006 with the wonderful Ouija Board, while the late Red Cadeaux was eighth) in 2012 and Joshua Tree last of 17 in 2013.

Dunlop’s travelling head groom Robin Trevor-Jones believes Trip To Paris is in the best possible condition despite having alread run 10 times this season.

“He’s as good as he was before the Caulfield Cup, if not better,” he told the Racing Post. “He was only beaten half a length there, and good judges in Australia tell me that if the winner Mongolian Khan was in here he’d be favourite, so I think he’ll run a good race.

“My worry is that there are 21 races over two days on the track before the Japan Cup, and it may become a little loose on the inside, where he’s drawn, but I’d also be concerned if there was no pace and it became a sprint up the straight, because that’s when the best horse doesn’t always win.”

The other European contenders include the German-trained Ito, winner of the Grosser Preis von Bayern (G1) earlier this month,

With a rating of 120, the son of Adlerflug is the highest rated among the 18 runners together with the three-year-old Erupt who finished a respectable fifth to Golden Horn in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, Paris last month.

Racing manager Alan Cooper, representing the horses’ connections, said: “We had to find a suitable candidate to come back and we believe Erupt is the right one. He showed in the Arc that he could hold his own against the best of his age and in older company.”

Trip To Paris is a 12/1 chance with most British bookmakers with Ito on 14/1 and the Peter Schiergen-trained Nightflower on 16/1,

Erupt is the 7/1 second favourite behind the big home hope, Lovely Day, who extended his unbeaten run to four wins in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) earlier this month.

His stable companion and Japanese Oaks winner Mikki Queen, is a 9/1 shot.

Mikki Queen, bids to become only the first three-year-old filly after Gentildonna in 2012 to win the Japan Cup.

A winner of two legs of this year’s Japanese filly triple crown, the Shuka Sho (GI) and the Yushun Himba or Japanese Oaks (G1) she takes her chances or the first time against older horses.

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