Japan Cup: Facts and Race Information
More than 21,000 horse races are held each year in Japan, none of which are bigger than the Japan Cup.
The Japan Cup is held on the last Sunday of November at the Tokyo Racecourse in Fuchu, Tokyo. It’s one of the most prestigious mile and a half races in the world, with a maximum of 18 horses running under weight for age conditions.
Along with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Melbourne Cup and the Breeders’ Cup, the Japan Cup is one of the great end-of-year events in the horse racing calendar.
First run in 1981, the Japan Racing Association (JRA) introduced the Japan Cup as an invitational race to give local racehorses an opportunity to compete against elite racehorses from the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and India. Entry restrictions were lifted a year later, with the JRA extending their invitation to the best horses from around the world.
The Japan Cup remains an invitational race, attracting the biggest names in racing with a total prize pool of ¥624,000,000 (about US$5.7 million). It’s the second richest turf race in the world, after the Melbourne Cup, with ¥300,000,000 (about US$2.7 million) set aside for the winner.
Additional prize money is awarded if the winning horse triumphed in other international races in the same calendar year and finishes third or better in the Japan Cup. Qualifying races include the Epsom Derby, Irish Derby, Dubai World Cup, Breeders’ Cup, and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
2021 Japan Cup Betting Odds & Predictions
The 41st running of the Japan Cup will take place on Sunday, 28 November 2021.
Nominations close on Tuesday, 5 October. We’ll update our Japan Cup betting guide when the field has been confirmed and betting sites release odds for the invitational event. We will also reveal our 2021 Japan Cup betting predictions and explain the reasoning behind our selections. Stay tuned!
Features of the Best Japan Cup Betting Sites
With the Japan Cup being one of the most prestigious mile and a half races in the world, it should come as no surprise to learn that all the best sports betting sites accepts bets on the invitational race. But with so many sites to choose from, we understand it can be difficult to decide where to place your bets.
Luckily for you, we know what fellow horse racing betting enthusiasts look for in a bookmaker. That’s why we analyse every aspect of each site we review and share our honest and unbiased opinion on whether it’s worth your time. We consider everything from licensing and security measures to payment methods and customer support, but there’s a few key features we look for in Japan Cup betting sites.
How to Bet on the Japan Cup
Whether you’re new to betting on horse racing online or considering betting on the Japan Cup for the first time, we’re here to help.
We’ve already helped thousands of beginners create an online betting account and bet on their favourite sports, so allow us to show you how easy it is to bet on Japan’s most prestigious horse race.
Follow our step-by-step guide below to place your first bet on the Japan Cup:
Recent Japan Cup Winners
Some of the greatest racehorses of all time have competed in the Japan Cup since its inaugural running in 1981, including numerous Triple Crown winners and Horse of the Year winners.
Mairzy Doates, a five-year-old American mare ridden by Cash Asmussen and trained by John Fulton, won the first Japan Cup, finishing a length clear of runner-up Frost King.
More recently, Gentildonna became the first back-to-back winner of the Japan Cup. Ryan Moore rode the filly to victory in the 2013 Japan Cup after trainer Sei Ishizaka made the harsh decision to drop jockey Yasunari Iwata, despite the Japanese jockey guiding her to victory in the 2012 Japan Cup.
And how could we discuss recent winners without addressing the 2020 Japan Cup? It was the biggest clash of champions in the race’s history, with three Japan Triple Crown winners going head-to-head in the 40th edition of the invitational race.
The 2018 Japanese Fillies Triple Crown winner Almond Eye was the betting favourite, ahead of the undefeated 2020 Japanese Triple Crown winner Contrail and the undefeated 2020 Japanese Fillies Triple Crown winner Daring Tact. Almond Eye blazed down the Tokyo Racecourse to claim her second Japan Cup in the final race of her career.
Here’s more information on all Japan Cup winners since 2010:
|2020||Almond Eye||5||Christophe Lemaire||Sakae Kunieda||2:23.0|
|2019||Suave Richard||5||Oisin Murphy||Yasushi Shono||2:25.9|
|2018||Almond Eye||3||Christophe Lemaire||Sakae Kunieda||2:20.6|
|2017||Cheval Grand||5||Hugh Bowman||Yasuo Tomomichi||2:23.7|
|2016||Kitasan Black||4||Yutaka Take||Hisashi Shimizu||2:25.8|
|2015||Shonan Pandora||4||Kenichi Ikezoe||Tomokazu Takano||2:24.7|
|2014||Epiphaneia||4||Christophe Soumillon||Katsuhiko Sumii||2:23.1|
|2013||Gentildonna||4||Ryan Moore||Sei Ishizaka||2:26.1|
|2012||Gentildonna||3||Yasunari Iwata||Sei Ishizaka||2:23.1|
|2011||Buena Vista||5||Yasunari Iwata||Hiroyoshi Matsuda||2:24.2|
|2010||Rose Kingdom||3||Yutaka Take||Kojiro Hashiguchi||2:25.2|
Note: In 2010, Rose Kingdom finished second to Buena Vista but was promoted because of disqualification.
Ready to Bet on the 2021 Japan Cup?
The countdown to the 41st running of the Japan Cup is on. We will update our Japan Cup betting guide with the latest odds and share our predictions for the invitational race when the field is confirmed.
In the meantime, join one of the best Japan Cup betting sites listed on this page and claim your bonus to bet on other major horse races.
Get started by joining one of the best Japan Cup betting sites listed on this page. Once you fill in your personal details and create your account, make your first deposit and navigate to the horse racing section. Find the latest Japan Cup betting odds, add a selection to your betting slip and confirm your stake.
The 2021 Japan Cup is scheduled to take place on Sunday, 28 November. The field will be confirmed after nominations close on Tuesday, 5 October. Online betting sites will then release their 2021 Japan Cup betting odds and we will share our predictions for the invitational race on this page.
The 2018 Japanese Fillies Triple Crown winner Almond Eye won the 2020 Japan Cup to become a two-time winner after breaking the 2,400-metre speed record in 2018 with a time of 2:20.6. Her victory gave Contrail and Daring Tact their first defeats in one of the most anticipated races in the event’s history.
Absolutely! Japan boasts 25 racing horse racing tracks, with more than 21,000 races held each year. Three types of racing take place at these tracks - flat racing, jump racing, and Ban'ei Racing (also known as Draft Racing). The Japan Cup is one of the biggest days of horse racing in the country.