Raiders bid for Japan glory
Dandino and Joshua Tree both shoot for Far Eastern glory at the highest level as they line up in Sunday morning's Japan Cup in Tokyo.
Last Updated: 26/11/10 11:56am
Dandino and Joshua Tree both shoot for Far Eastern glory as they line up in Sunday's Japan Cup in Tokyo.
The pair, trained by James Given and Aidan O'Brien respectively, have been drawn in stalls three and 12 as they bid for the Grade One heat, which is worth £1,664,447 to the winner.
Dandino arrives on the back of a disappointing eighth behind Arctic Cosmos in the St Leger but he had previously won at Royal Ascot and finished second in the Gordon Stakes.
Given said: "Everything has gone well with the horse, the transport and getting him here.
"He had to have two separate flights. First, he flew from the UK to Amsterdam. He then spent a night there and then flew from Amsterdam to Tokyo.
"His first flight, which was only an hour or so long, he was a little bit nervous, he sweated a little bit on that first flight, but having had that experience, for the main whole flight from Amsterdam to Tokyo he was very relaxed and took the flight very well.
"He looks very healthy, fit and tight. I'm very pleased with the way he looks."
Given blamed the rain-softened ground for Dandino's comprehensive eclipse at Doncaster but he expects the firm surface in Tokyo to be more to his liking.
"His form does suggest he's much better when it's a quicker ground. Two of his wins came this year at Epsom and the Royal Ascot on ground that was fairly quick," he added.
"I just don't think he's as effective when the ground is loose as he is on fast ground. He's had a canter around the track and it's pretty quick ground but I think that suits the horse and he seemed very comfortable on it."
Joshua Tree finished three places ahead of Dandino in the Leger and has since won the Grade One Canadian International at Woodbine.
Jockey Colm O'Donoghue is not underestimating Sunday's 18-strong field, but expects his mount to be able to adapt to the quicker conditions.
"It's a very strong group of horses in the race and the the pace of the race should be quite strong," he explained.
"But he's very versatile, he travels very well through his races I think which is very important, but he's quite adaptable to his races, it'll all depend on the pace of the race where I can place him, but he's very versatile."
Joshua Tree was one place behind Snow Fairy at Doncaster and with the dual Oaks winner having landed a Kyoto Grade One in style earlier this month, connections are taking plenty of heart.
O'Brien's assistant Thomas Comerford added: "We all know how good Snow Fairy is and Joshua Tree probably didn't stay a mile and six (furlongs), and his best trip is a mile and a half as we know now since Canada - probably his ideal trip.
"Finishing just behind Snow Fairy is very good indeed especially the way she won the last day and her winning in four lengths so it puts us in with a good shout."
Buena Vista, Eishin Flash, Victoire Pisa and Nakayama Festa are amongst the home-trained runners, with the latter racing on the back of his narrow defeat by Workforce in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Trainer Masayoshi Ebina said of his globetrotter: "I can't say about how he's been since he's come back, but I'm confident the stable will have him in the best shape possible.
"He ran a heck of a race away from home, and I want to show the fans what 'world class' is really about. I feel a sense of responsibility, that we represent the country.
"We're at home this time and I've got all the faith in the world in this horse," he told www.japanracing.jp.
French interest is provided by Canadian International second Mores Wells, Timos and Marinous while Voila Ici represents Italy.