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Sunday, November 28
Zenno Rob Roy triumphs in Japan Cup




Zenno Rob Roy confirmed strong favoritism to give the Japanese their sixth Japan Cup triumph in the last seven years on Sunday before a massive crowd of 119,362 at Tokyo Racecourse where Total Impact could manage only fourth behind Time Paradox in the Japan Cup Dirt.

The 1.70-1 victory of Zenno Rob Roy in the Japan Cup, which at $4.68 million rates as the world's richest turf race, came at the expense of a bevy of lackluster performances from European invaders. Policy Maker from France was closest in fourth, 3-1/4 lengths behind the winner, while Phoenix Reach was sixth, Lune d'Or seventh, Powerscourt tenth and a very disappointing Warrsan fifteenth, beaten 20 lengths after trailing through most of the 1 1/2 miles.

French jockeys, however, showed their mettle by riding the first two home. Olivier Peslier, given a leg up by leading Japanese trainer Kazuo Fujisawa, put the victorious son of Sunday Silence on the lead approaching the furlong pole. Zenno Rob Roy didn't need much encouragement to breeze clear of the Christophe Lemaire-ridden Cosmo Bulk, crossing the line a 3-length winner while traveling the 12 furlongs on firm ground in 2:24.20. Delta Blues closed well to be third, a neck behind Cosmo Bulk and a head in front of the Elie Lellouche-trained Policy Maker. Powerscourt made brief progress from the rear five furlongs from home but soon flattened out.

Zenno Rob Roy was coming off a sharp score in the 1 1/4-mile Grade 1 Autumn Tenno Sho at Tokyo on Oct. 31 and could reappear at Nakayama for the 1 9/16-mile Grade 1 Arima Kinen on Dec. 26.

He was bred by Shiraoi Farm, as was the Japan Cup Dirt winner, Time Paradox, who is a 6-year-old son of Brian's Time. Moreover, Time Paradox's 2-1/2-length victory over the favorite and last year's runner-up, Admire Don, was a personal triumph for Hiroyoshi Matsuda, who trains both Time Paradox and Admire Don.

Mike Smith had the Laura de Seroux-trained Total Impact in perfect striking position throughout the $2.46 million contest, but the Chilean-bred son of Stuka lacked a finishing kick and was beaten by five lengths, although his fourth-place finish was worth $195,020 to owners Sultan Al Kabeer and Bridgeport SA. Europan invaders fared even worse then they did in the Japan Cup, with the German-trained Omikron distanced in fifteenth and the British-trained Vortex eased approaching the quarter pole after having pulled a muscle.

Time Paradox, who covered the 1 5/16 miles in 2:08.70 on a fast track, was ridden to his 11-1 victory by Japan's favorite jockey Yutaka Take. The result was a complete reversal of the 1 1/4-mile Grade 1 JBC Classic at Oi on Nov. 3 when Admire Don had beaten him into third by 3-1/4 lengths. Time Paradox had won a 1 5/16-mile Grade 3 contest at Kanazawa in his previous start.

The clean sweep of both big races on the 50th Anniversay celebration of the Japan Racing Association is continued evidence of just how difficult the Japanese are to beat on their home ground. Not only was this their sixth victory in seven years in the Japan Cup, Falbrav's 2002 win the lone exception during that time, it was their fourth in the five-year history of the Japan Cup Dirt, Fleetstreet Dancer's nose decision over Admire Don being the only blemish on the home team's record in what is now the world's third richest dirt race after the Dubai World Cup and the Breeders' Cup Classic.



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