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JRA G1 races of 2023: Upcoming events to bet on

JRA G1 races of 2023: Upcoming events to bet on

It’s already halfway through the 2023 campaign, but there are still plenty of racing events to watch and bet on. Chief among them are G1 events in the Japan Racing Association (JRA), with exciting races between October to December that you can bet on.

The JRA has scheduled plenty of races this year. All of these are graded from Groups 1 to 3 (G1-G3). If you have to narrow down what you can watch in the remaining days of the year, then focus on the higher-tier events called G1. There are still seven races remaining, starting in October, with three honourable mentions:

Sprinters Stakes

Distance

1,200m (5.9 furlongs), Turf

Date

1st October 2023

Age requirement

3-years old & up

Racecourse

Nakayama Racecourse (Right-handed)

Max horses

16 participants

JRA forecast regarding the Sprinter Stakes shows favour in 7-year-old stallion Naran Huleg. He was the 3rd place winner at the 2022 Takamatsunomiya Memorial Cup. He’s old and doesn’t have a considerably impressive record, but his versatility works great in a short dash.

Naran Huleg’s only real challenge boils down to two mares. One of them is a 4-year-old filly, Namura Clair, who is noted for her great endurance and capacity for taking risky strategies. The other is 5-year-old mare Meikei Yell, whose biggest victory is the 2022 Centaur Stakes.

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Shuka Sho

Distance

2,000m (10 furlongs), Turf

Date

15 October 2023

Age requirement

3-years old, fillies only

Racecourse

Kyoto Racecourse (Right-handed)

Max horses

18 participants

The Shuka Sho is the final leg of the Japanese Triple Tiara, making it one of the year's biggest events. Running to become this year’s Triple Tiara queen is Liberty Island, winner of both the 2023 Oka Sho and 2023 Yushun Himba. Seeking to nab the opportunity from her includes Harper and Doula, who were consistently in the top 4 behind Liberty Island.

Queen Elizabeth II Cup

Distance

2,200m (11 furlongs), Turf

Date

12th November 2023

Age requirement

3-years old & up, fillies and mares only

Racecourse

Kyoto Racecourse (Right-handed)

Max horses

18 participants

Participants for the Queen Elizabeth II Cup are not yet complete but there are already a few notable names on the roster. One of which is a 4-year-old mare, Stars on Earth. She was a top 1 favourite in the Spring season between Osaka Hai and Victoria Mile, but victory was barely out of reach as she placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

5-year-old Geraldina is the only other mare to declare interest in joining the Queen Elizabeth II Cup. She’s also a good contender after winning the 2022 edition of the same tournament. Horse racing odds JRA is in favour of Stars on Earth right now as the candidate for the crown since Geraldina is not a regular champion in the G1 scene.

Mile Championship

Distance

1,600m (8 furlongs), Turf

Date

19th November, 2023

Age requirement

3-years old & up

Racecourse

Kyoto Racecourse (Right-handed)

Max horses

18 participants

The Mile Championship is still a long time away, but the JRA odds regarding potential participants were already speculated. As a prerequisite, runners in the Fuji Stakes (G2) and Swan Stakes (G2) have a priority start. This means potential racers can come from these two events, both scheduled in September.

Among the potential favourites include 3-year-old Champagne Color, 4-years old Red Mon Reve, and 3-year-old Obamburumai. The first two are the top contenders in the Fuji Stakes, while the latter is in the Swan Stakes. Their respective rosters are still incomplete, but pundits are confident that they will remain at the top of their respective lineups for weeks to come.

Japan Cup

Distance

2,400m (12 furlongs), Turf

Date

26th November 2023

Age requirement

3-years old & up

Racecourse

Tokyo Racecourse (Left-handed)

Max horses

18 participants

Compared to the other races, the Japan Cup is considered the most prestigious event in the G1 JRA scene. That means fans are already settled on potential favourites in JRA Japan Cup predictions.

The top of the favourites list includes 4-year-old stallion Dubai Sheema Classic winner, Equinox. His owner announced his participation way back in the autumn season. Challenging his claim to the title is 4-year-old Kyoto Kinen winner, Do Deuce, who wasn’t in the Dubai Turf because of his injured left forelimb.

The 5-year-old stallion, Titleholder, is also jumping into the tracks. He’s the winner of the 2022 Tenno Sho, but he’s not favoured as well as his younger rivals. Regardless, he is still a worthy contender for the 2023 Japan Cup title.

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Champions Cup

Distance

1,800m (9 furlongs), Dirt

Date

3rd December 2023

Age requirement

3-years old & up

Racecourse

Chukyo Racecourse (Left-handed)

Max horses

16 participants

The Champions Cup is a step down from the Japan Cup in the level of excitement, but it’s still among the top events covered by bookmaker JRA. 6-year-old T O Keynes may have placed 4th in the 2022 running of the Champions Cup, but he was the winner of the 2021 campaign. Thus, many consider him the favourite of the upcoming 2023 running.

However, 6-year-old Jun Light Bolt aims to defend his title this year. It will be a fight between two champions, except 4-year-old Crown Pride also has high odds of winning after placing 2nd last year. His stamina and versatility make him a potential winner, but he has to keep up with their burst of speed in this short-distance race.

Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix)

Distance

2,500m (12.5 furlongs), Turf

Date

24th December 2023

Age requirement

3-years old & up

Racecourse

Nakayama Racecourse (Right-handed)

Max horses

16 participants

The Arima Kinen is officially the last major stakes event in the 2023 JRA campaign. Titleholder is currently the only Thoroughbred who has declared clear intentions and qualifications to participate. It’s fitting because he has always been a great all-rounder, showing great promise in completing this long-distance endurance race compared to his older rivals.

That’s not to say he has no rivals at the Nakayama Racecourse. There is a big chance Jun Light Bolt, Crown Pride, and Geraldina will join him on the tracks. If that’s the case, then one of them can potentially compete for the favourite spot against Titleholder. It’s a safe choice in JRA betting where horse racing G1 odds should consider speciality in the racecourse.

Three other G1 events to consider

The JRA has a strict grading system to clearly indicate which events are of higher stakes than the others. However, some are easily overshadowed by those of the same group, making them featured less by the media. This factors into their relatively low prize pools, even for G1 events, averaging ¥65,000,000 to ¥70,000,000.

On top of that, these races are also covering 2-year-old juveniles only. It’s hard for punters to speculate on future bets when potential participants have almost zero graded race experience. Some Thoroughbreds will debut in the JRA in these races, while others are coming from the National Association of Racing (NAR).

  • Hanshin Juvenile Fillies

Scheduled to start on 10th December 2023 at the Hanshin Racecourse (right-handed). It’s a race for 2-year-old fillies only serving as a prelude to the 2024 Triple Tiara series. This is where candidates for the 2024 G1 races are selected from debuting juveniles.

  • Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes

Scheduled to start on 17th December 2023 at the Hanshin Racecourse (right-handed). 2-year-old fillies and colts but geldings may not join. This race also determines potential candidates for next year’s Triple Crown candidates, but it’s a race for both colts and fillies series. Likewise, it’s also a great race to watch foals to view potential studs and broodmares.

  • Hopeful Stakes

Scheduled to start on 28th December 2023 at the Nakayama Racecourse (right-handed). Just like Asahi Hai, Hopeful Stakes is an event for 2-year-old colts and fillies only, no geldings. One major difference is that the track is 2,000m long, an endurance test for juveniles. This makes it a great prelude for both genders in 2024’s 3rd Triple Crown leg.

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Clarence Clarke23 Aug 2023

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