Bowman steers Cheval Grand to Longines Japan Cup success in Tokyo
Jockey Hugh Bowman captured another major prize to his growing list when Cheval Grand won the 37th running of the £3.9 million Longines Japan Cup at Tokyo on Sunday.
Having been third in the race 12 months ago to Japanese Horse of the Year Kitasan Black, Cheval Grand emerged from the chasing pack under Bowman to run on strongly and overhaul the former, who was to also lose second place to Japanese Derby winner Rey De Oro close to the finish line.
The victory, by a margin of a length and a quarter, was a first in Japan’s most prestigious race for trainer Yasuo Tomomichi, who is already a big winner on the world stage this year thanks to Vivlos’s victory in the Dubai Turf in March.
Makahiki – last year’s Japanese Derby hero also saddled by Tomomichi – was fourth, one place ahead of Idaho, representing Aidan O’Brien and under Ryan Moore.
Rey De Oro finished a neck in front of Kitasan Black who was bidding to join Gentildonna as the only horse to win the Japan Cup twice and had also beaten Cheval Grand in the last two runnings of the Tenno Sho (Spring).
To the victor the spoils and the success was also another landmark victory for 37-year-old Bowman who also captured a third Cox Plate last month on the current star of Australian racing, Winx.
Speaking afterwards, Bowman said: “He was very strong and aided by a good draw. My plan was to follow Kitasan Black into the straight, which I was able to do, and the horse did the rest.
“I worked Cheval Grand uphill on Wednesday but it wasn’t fast so I didn’t really get the feel. But the trainer told me he was stronger than last year and, having watched the film of the 2016 Japan Cup, I thought that would put him close. He deserved to win and I’m so happy.”
Bowman is due to partner the Japanese-trained pair Staphanos and Satono Aladdin at the Hong Kong International meeting on 10 December, two days after being presented with a first Longines World’s Best Jockey title which has now been secured by virtue of Cheval Grand’s victory.