The Japan Cup is one of the biggest horse races in Asia. First run in 1981, it takes place annually at the Tokyo Racecourse in Fuchū. With a total prize pool of ¥864,000,000, the race attracts some of the biggest runners and riders, making it one of the most anticipated in the horse events calendar.
It, therefore, should come as no surprise that Japan Cup betting is also big business. If you are not very familiar with horse racing in Asia, not to worry. We will outline what to consider before placing any wagers, including past winners, available markets and expert tips, alongside the best Japan Cup betting sites. Let’s have it.
Best Bookies for Japanese Horse Racing
When betting on any sport, it is important to take advantage of the top online bookmakers. The number of bookies covering the race has increased significantly over recent years. However, the best Japan Cup betting sites will offer competitive odds, ante-post and pre-race markets, as well as live streaming. Our top picks are listed below:
How to Bet on Japan Cup
There are several things to consider when backing a runner. When explaining how to bet on the Japan Cup, it is important to explain that no strategy will guarantee success. Besides understanding the key horse racing betting terminology, below are some standout factors to think about before making your final selections.
Stats of Previous Winners
A large number of statistics are available surrounding the Japan Cup. However, one of the most important steps that punters can take is to look at the previous winners. There have been very few multiple Japan Cup winners. In fact, the only exception is Gentildonna which managed to prevail in 2012 and 2013.
Training Team and Stable
When it comes to past performances, some trainers and owners stand out. For example, Sakae Kunieda has trained the winner of the Japan Cup twice in the last four years. Meanwhile, horses from the Sunday Racing stable won the race for four consecutive years from 2010-2013.
More recently, there has been no real trend regarding stable winners. The leading horse racing trainers work tirelessly to ensure their prized assets are in the best possible condition before traveling to Tokyo.
Considering the age of previous winners is arguably more important. In the last 10 races, just one winner has been aged less than four. This came in 2018 when Almond 3-year-old Almond Eye came out on top.
Horses will often not reach their peak until the age of around 5. So, those that have competed in the race in the past but not placed should not be written off, especially if they were aged 3 at the time.
What Do You Need to Know About the Racecourse?
The Japan Cup takes place at the Tokyo Racecourse, which was opened in 1933. Knowing the insides and outs of the track will offer you a better chance of backing a winner. It is also worth noting that some horses perform better in some fields than others.
Tokyo Racecourse is located in Fuchū, with the Japan Cup taking place over a distance of 2400m (12 ½ furlongs), with left-handed turf. When it comes to explaining how to bet on horse races, Japan Cup tips should take into account racecourse information.
Things to Know Before Betting on Japan Cup
It is certainly no easy task to back winners when it comes to Japan Cup betting. So, besides selecting the right bookie, what other steps can you take to maximize your chances of success? Below, we provide some useful points to consider:
Betting markets: When it comes to betting on the Japan Cup, two markets attract the most interest. Whether pre-race or ante post-horse racing, many will wager on which horse will win the race.
Each runner is given a specific price based on their form, age, weight and other factors. Meanwhile, an each-way bet, which requires double the stake, is effectively two bets in one. The first half is a win bet, while the other is for your pick to place, i.e., finish in one of the top positions.
Qualifications: The Japan Cup is a race available to thoroughbreds aged 3+. While 18 horses in total, just 10 are allowed to come from foreign trainers. Preference is given to the winners of selected international races, such as the Melbourne Cup, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and Breeders’ Cup.
Purse: While it should not impact Japan Cup betting, the Grade 1 race comes with a purse of ¥ 864,000,000. The winner takes home ¥ 400,000,000, second ¥120,000,000, third ¥75,000,000, fourth ¥45,000,000 and ¥30,000,000. As a result, competition for places is understandably great.
Bonus: Many bonuses are available for the Japan Cup. The most important bonus was added back in 2012. As a result, in the event of a foreign-based horse finishing third or above in the race, a bonus of ¥ 80, 32 or 20 million would be added to the prize fund respectively. This was introduced in an attempt to attract higher-profile foreign entrants.
Look out for offers and promotions: Leading Japan Cup betting sites will feature a range of promotions. Some are specific to the Japan Cup and horse racing, while others are more generic. When the terms and conditions are realistic, Best Odds Guaranteed and cashback offers are well worth taking advantage of, along with free bets. A betting bonus can help punters maximize their profits and minimize losses.
Most Valuable Japan Cup Odds
When looking to back a winner, our Japan Cup horse racing tips are certainly of benefit. Many bettors will do little research before backing their favorite, failing to consider past performances, form and other vital factors. However, having looked at such information, as well as odds offered by bookies, the following are our top picks ahead of the race:
Tip 1: Titleholder to win the Japan Cup at 5/1 (6.00)
The 4-year-old Titleholder comes into the Japan Cup with three wins in 2022 already. The Toru Kurita-trained horse returned from a 56-day break to win at Hanshin in June before returning to action at Longchamp in October. Having won the Japanese St Ledger in 2021, Titleholder seems to be a runner maturing at precisely the right time.
Tip 2: Equinox to win Each Way at 10/1 (11.00)
Having impressed in both the Satsuki Sho and Tokyo Yushun earlier in the year, Equinox won the Tenno Sho Autumn at Tokyo at the end of October. This was the second Grade 1 success for trainer Tetsuya Kimura, who will travel to the Japan Cup quietly confident.
Which Are the Latest Winners?
The Japan Cup dates back to 1981. It is now one of the biggest races in Asia, sitting alongside the Tōkyō Yūshun and Yasuda Kinen as part of the Asia Mile Challenge. Japanese entrants have dominated the race over the years, despite the ever-increasing number of foreign runners.
This is important to consider for Japan Cup betting while also demonstrating the high skill levels of local stables. Below is a list of the last 10 Japan Cup winners, including their age, trainer and nationality:
|2020||Almond Eye||5||Sakae Kunieda||Japan|
|2019||Suave Richard||5||Yasushi Shono||Japan|
|2018||Almond Eye||3||Sakae Kunieda||Japan|
|2017||Cheval Grand||5||Yasuo Tomomichi||Japan|
|2016||Kitasan Black||4||Hisashi Shimizu||Japan|
|2015||Shonan Pandora||4||Tomokazu Takano||Japan|
Other Notable International Horse Races
Obviously, the Japan Cup does not even come close to the most lucrative horse events. Plus, it only takes place once a year. If you are an avid bettor, you need a wide range of options to place your wagers. Below, you can find a shortlist of some other key international races, alongside helpful tips and advice from our expert team:
Full List of Japan Cup Betting Sites
Not only is the Japan Cup a big deal for horse racing fans, but it is also a big day in the calendar for bettors. The race represents an excellent opportunity to find value, given that there are 18 quality entrants.
Just be sure to do your homework before confirming any bet while also taking advantage of nothing but the very best bookmakers for horse racing. The following are our top-ranked Japan Cup betting sites:
Horse racing is an increasingly popular sport in Japan. A number of Grade 1 races are now held, with over 20,000 occurring annually. This has led to many also betting on horse races, both domestically and internationally.
Contrail won the 2021 Japan Cup. The 4-year-old finished in a time of 2:24.7, ahead of Authority. Contrail was the 3/5 SP favorite. Authority finished in second place, with Shahryar in third.
The best bookies for the Japan Cup come with competitive odds, full racecards, cash out and even live streaming. Such features help to make betting on the race all the more enjoyable. Our recommended bookies are all secure and fair too.
The previous Japan Cup was won by the 3/5 SP favorite, Contrail. The 4-year-old was trained by Yoshito Yahagi, with Contrail’s career earnings now sitting at over ¥1,000,000,000. Contrail finished ahead of Authority.
When betting on the Japan Cup, punters will likely have a variety of offers to take advantage of. The most common and popular include free bets, Best Odds Guaranteed, cashback and insurance