The two foreign contenders for this year’s Grade 1 Japan Cup, Capri (Ireland) and Thundering Blue (UK), arrived safely at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture late Wednesday. Both horses were then transported to the quarantine facilities at the JRA Horseracing School Quarantine Center, where they arrived at 7:43 p.m., completing about a 24-hour journey for Capri and a 28-hour journey for Thundering Blue from their respective home stables.
“The horse is in good condition and there are no problems with him,” said assistant trainer Patrick Keating of Capri. “I haven’t received any instructions from trainer yet, but I’ll be in touch with him every day to get training menu instructions from here. We do not plan to do any fast work at the Horseracing School. Once we move to Tokyo Racecourse, we are planning to train him on the turf course there.”
“There’s not much change in the condition of the horse,” said assistant trainer Kim Johnstone of Thundering Blue. “The trainer is scheduled to arrive tomorrow (Nov. 16), so there have not been any specific instructions yet. We’ll start with light work and gradually increase the training load. We’ll give him fast work before the race – just not sure when at this point.”
Capri, a 4-year-old colt by Galileo and trained by Aidan O’Brien, has 6 wins from 15 career starts, including the Grade 3 Alleged Stakes in April. He finished fifth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe behind Enable, followed by a fourth in the Champion Stakes at Ascot in late October.
Thundering Blue, a 5-year-old gelding by Exchange Rate, is 6-for-21 in his career, with four seconds and thirds. After a third in the Grade 1 International Stakes at York in August, he is fresh off a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine in October.
The Japan Cup will be run on Sunday, Nov. 25 at Tokyo Racecourse, with a scheduled post time of 15:40 local time.
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