The Japan Cup, one of the most prestigious horse racing events in the world, concluded on November 26th 2023, with an exhilarating race that had fans on the edge of their seats.
This annual event brings together top-notch horses and jockeys from around the globe to compete in a thrilling showdown of speed and stamina.
The latest renewal of the Japan Cup was no exception, as it featured a talented field of competitors vying for glory on the renowned Tokyo Racecourse.
Equinox, from trainer Tetsuya Kimura, emerged as the victor, with connections taking home a staggering prize of £3.71 MILLION for the victory.
Ridden by jockey Christophe Lemaire, Equinox is a homegrown Japanese thoroughbred racehorse, making the win all the sweeter for fans.
How Equinox Won The Japan Cup
In the heart of Tokyo, on a crisp autumn day in 2023, Equinox, a four-year-old sensation, etched his name into the annals of horse racing history.
The Japan Cup, a prestigious 18-runner event, would be the stage where Equinox’s greatness would shine brighter than ever before.
The anticipation hung in the air as the horses lined up at the starting gate. Equinox was the crowd favourite, carrying the weight of expectations as the world’s highest-rated horse.
Ranked 129 going into the race, based on his previous triumph in the Dubai Sheema Classic, Equinox had garnered strong support to be given a rating of 130 or more.
As the race unfolded, Panthalassa, a regular front-runner, set a blistering pace, covering the first five furlongs in a breathtaking 57.6 seconds.
Panthalassa’s early lead stretched to a staggering 25 lengths at the 600-meter mark.
But Equinox, positioned brilliantly by Lemaire, had never been further behind than third.
With every stride, Equinox closed the gap, his powerful legs eating up the turf. Then, at the crucial moment, Equinox unleashed a burst of speed that left everyone in awe.
He breezed past Titleholder and, with a breathtaking display of power and grace, overtook the valiant Panthalassa.
Equinox crossed the finish line four lengths ahead of his closest rival, Liberty Island, a smart three-year-old filly and the Triple Crown heroine.
The performance was nothing short of astonishing.
Odds On The Race
With 18 runners in the race, winning the Japan Cup is notoriously difficult. But there’s always a standout, and 2023 was no different.
Equinox was the firm favourite with bookies and punters alike, and this was reflected in his very short 3/10 odds ON market price.
For those not familiar with odds that short, it means that for every £10 you wagered on him, you won £3 back!
But short of being a high roller, Equinox didn’t offer much value for money – but that’s because he’s the best thoroughbred in the world.
Liberty Island, who finished in second place, offered a bit more value at odds of 27/10 (nearly 3/1).
But it was third place finisher, Stars on Earth, that really got fans excited. An outsider, who went off at 26/1, those who backed it each way were singing all the way to the bookies to collect their healthy winnings.
From the shortest-priced Equinox to the longest, Forward Again and Trust Kenshin both went off at a staggering 933/1. They finished 14th and 16th, respectively, and were never really in with a chance.
How will it all play out in 2024, and will the favourite win again? We can only wait and see.
How Much Has Equinox Won In Prize Money?
The most recent win in the Japan Cup 2023 earned Equinox £3,171,349.45 in prize money.
In total, from nine race starts which resulted in seven wins and two second places, Equinox has earned…£14,038,786.
And if that wasn’t enough, connections also earned an additional US$3 million bonus from winning the Dubai Sheema Classic in March 2023.
But in all the excitement, the one aspect of Equinox that often gets lost in the mix is that he is owned by a syndicate.
Silk Racing is a horse ownership organisation that offered 500 shares in Equinox, with each share sold for 80,000 yen (£426 each).
If you had been lucky enough to buy a share, it would have now earned you £32,000.
Of course, trainer and jockey winnings, race fees etc…need to be deducted, but even if that accounted for 20% of winnings, you would still get a hefty £25,000 for your £426 investment.
By any stretch of the imagination, that is not a bad return. So can Equinox go on and win even more?
Speculation has been rampant that whatever the outcome of the Japan Cup, Equinox would be retired to stud. But that has not yet been decided.
Trainer Tetsuya Kimura remained tight-lipped, stating that a decision would be made after a short holiday.
So there is the possibility that he will race into 2024 and may even head to the Breeders Cup.
Whatever the future holds for Equinox, for now, we celebrate the horse whose name will forever be synonymous with greatness.
Christophe Lemaire, with his fourth Japan Cup win, declared Equinox as possibly the best horse he had ever ridden.
Can Equinox be challenged? Can he be surpassed? Or have we witnessed the perfection of a horse in all his glory? Only time will tell.