There is widespread anticipation ahead of this year’s Japan Cup (G1), as the $7.12 million race could be the career swan song for the world’s highest-rated horse, Equinox . It has been widely reported that the 4-year-old son of Kitasan Black will retire at the season’s end and stand as a stallion for 2024.
Equinox will attempt to take his win streak to five in the Nov. 26 2,400-meter prize to cap an already exceptional career. The 2022 Japanese Horse of the Year enters the Japan Cup off a world record-setting performance in the Oct. 29 Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1), where he blitzed the 2,000-meter turf contest in a final time of 1:55.2 at Tokyo Racecourse.
The colt, owned by Silks Racing, was transferred from Miho Training Center to the Tenei Branch of Northern Farm two days after his Tenno Sho (Autumn) victory, where he received a short freshener before returning to training. Equinox arrived back at trainer Tetsuya Kimura’s barn at Miho Nov. 10 and breezed six furlongs on the woodchip course in 1:21.8 seconds. During the breeze, he covered his final eighth of a mile in an impressive 11.4 seconds under a motionless rider.
Looking to challenge the five-time group 1 winner is the top 3-year-old filly Liberty Island. The daughter of Duramente swept all three legs of the Japanese Triple Tiara, with the most recent win coming in the Oct. 15 Shuka Sho (G1) at Kyoto Racecourse.