Organisers of the 2009 Japan Cup have introduced a new bonus system to international race winners in a bid to attract more interest in the multi-million dollar race.
As a part of the four “Japan Autumn International” series races, the Japan Cup offers a total prize money amount of 533.5 million yen, approximately US$5.615 million.
However despite this large amount of money offered to horses and their owners, the race has failed to attract international competitors.
The new bonus system, which was originally only awarded to the Japan Cup and Japan Cup Dirt winners, offers horses who have competed in specific overseas races extra prize money if they finish in the top three places in the Japan Cup.
The list of international designated races include the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Breeders’ Cup Turf, Breeders’ Cup Classic, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, The Derby, The Irish Derby, Prix du Jockey Club, Breeders’ Cup Classic and Dubai Sheema Classic.
With a track distance of 2400 metres on the Tokyo turf racecourse, the organisers of the Cup are hoping to attract the best 3 year old and over staying horses from around the world.
The system works by allowing the 2009 winner and runner-up and 2008 winner of each designated race to qualify for the bonus if it finishes in the top three places in the Japan Cup.
Depending on which designated race the horse was previously entered in, the winner of the Japan Cup will be awarded between AU$714 million and $1.857 million. The second placed horse will receive between AU$285,000 and $742,000 and the third will be awarded between AU$178,000 and $464,000.
This new scheme is also being applied to the country’s Japan Cup Dirt, the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup and the Mile Championship.