A perfect five-for-five so far on the Japanese dirt, rising star Chrysoberyl is the one to beat in Sunday’s Champions Cup (G1). The race formerly known as the Japan Cup Dirt has attracted a full field of 16, including Gold Dream who captured the about 1 1/8-mile feature at Chukyo in 2017.
Well-bred sophomore Chrysoberyl is a Gold Allure half-brother to Japanese champion Marialite and classic-placed Grade 2 winner Lia Fail as well as a full brother to multiple dirt stakes scorer Chrysolite. Their dam is herself a full to Alondite, hero of the 2006 Japan Cup Dirt in its original form at Tokyo.
Chrysoberyl could be the best of them all if his rapid ascent in any indication. Graduating from maiden and allowance romps to garner the Hyogo Championship at Sonoda and the Japan Dirt Derby, he handled his first test versus elders in the September 23 Nippon TV Hai at Funabashi. The U. Carrot Farm runner rolled past two-time Korea Cup winner London Town, leaving the accomplished veteran Nonkono Yume well back in third. Sunday’s challenge is his strongest yet, but Chrysoberyl is a seriously exciting colt.
Gold Dream, Japan’s champion dirt horse of 2017, missed his title defense last December but enters in good heart this campaign. Just missing to Inti in the February (G1), he turned the tables in the Kashiwa Kinen and warmed up with a third in the Mile Championship Nambu Hai. Christophe Lemaire stays aboard the six-year-old who gives sire Gold Allure a solid exacta shot.
Chuwa Wizard, by King Kamehameha and from the immediate family of 2018 champion Le Vent Se Leve, nipped Omega Perfume in the JBC Classic last out. Never out of the top three, Chuwa Wizard has emerged on the dirt scene this season with scores in the Diolite Kinen and Heian (G3). The one quibble is if he’s a little better going further, and he was second to Inti over this track and trip in the Tokai TV Hai Tokai (G2) back in January.
Omega Perfume, fifth in last year’s edition as a sophomore, enters with similar pattern having placed second in the JBC Classic for second straight year. Only this time he brings a Grade 1 on his resume as the winner of the Tokyo Daishoten (G1) in 2018 finale. Omega Perfume has traded decisions with Chuwa Wizard of late and got the better of him in the Teio Sho at Oi in June. Frankie Dettori picks up the mount.
At this time last year, Inti was in the midst of a seven-race winning streak that culminated in the February S. The son of Came Home has gone off the boil since. His skein was snapped by Gold Dream at Funabashi. After a sixth behind Omega Perfume at Oi, Inti gave way in the Miyako (G3) at Kyoto and was virtually eased. Trainer Kenji Nonaka reported that Inti exited the debacle in good shape.
Miyako hero Vengeance is on an upward curve, winning three of his last five, but third-placer Westerlund has a case to improve. Second to Le Vent Se Leve as a longshot here last year, Westerlund has raced only twice since, and he’s eligible to strip fitter for the tightener. Also coming out of the Miyako are runner-up King’s Guard, winless since the 2017 Procyon (G3) here, and fifth Wide Pharaoh. The other sophomore in the race aside from Chrysoberyl, Wide Pharaoh is a graded winner on both turf and dirt in the New Zealand Trophy (G2) and Unicorn (G3) respectively, in his own age group.
Wonder Lider just scored a new career high in the November 9 Tokyo Chunichi Sports Hai Musashino (G3) over Time Flyer, but has yet to race beyond a mile. Time Flyer, who earned his signature win in the 2017 Hopeful (G1), gets an eye-catching rider switch to Oisin Murphy. He also has a pedigree angle since his dam is a sister to 2004 Japan Cup Dirt champ Time Paradox.
Satono Titan, the mount of Ryan Moore, posted his biggest win in the March (G3) at this distance at Nakayama. Ninth to Chuwa Wizard in the Heian and third to Mozu Attraction in the Elm (G3), Satono Titan regained the winning thread in the Brazil Cup last out.
Veteran Mitsuba has been unplaced in the past two editions, and T O Energy has class concerns after being well beaten in the March, Antares (G3), Elm, and Miyako.
The Champions Cup field with odds in the middle of the night Saturday going into early Sunday morning local time: