Prix ​​​​de l’Arc de Triomphe: Title winner has main hopes of first victory for Japan, but Toru Kurita keeps his cool | racing news

Coach Toru Kurita believes Japan’s dream of a first Arc win is “within reach” as the Headline Header heads to Paris with a big opportunity.

As a racing nation, Japan has flourished in recent years, garnering multi-million pound prize money all over the world, from the Middle East to the US.

But, the famous Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe trophy, Europe’s last gathering of the best mile-and-a-half stars, has eluded the Japanese so far.

Putting an end to that voodoo has become something of a national obsession, amplified by a series of near misses in recent years with Orferve (2012 and 2013) and Nakayama Festa (2010) both taking second place.

Kurita himself came close, but saw his pre-race 2006 favorite Deep Impact come home third before being disqualified later.

The title holder, currently with an 8/1 chance for Sunday’s big race at ParisLongchamp live on Sky Sports Racing, is the main hope for the four Japanese horses in this year’s 20-rider field after winning his three races this year, including Grade One wins at Tenno Sho and Takarazuka Kinen.

Despite the weight of anticipation on their shoulders, both Kurita and his stable star remain calm.

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Manager Aidan O’Brien hopes the rain will stay away from Paris this weekend as favorites Luxembourg prepare to strut their stuff in Qatar’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, live on Sky Sports Racing

“He’s really calm and sweet when he’s in his stable, and when he’s racing he’s very focused and he runs hard to the finish,” Kurita told Sky Sports Racing. “There is no doubt about the resistance of him.

“The truth is I try to stay calm, just like when I’m in Japan. It is important that the horse stays the same and does not get stressed.

“The Arc is a very difficult race to win and the horses representing Japan have not yet made it, but it seems within reach.

Top Arc Contenders from Around the World

Luxembourg (IRELAND) – 7/2

Climber (GREAT BRITAIN) – 11/2

Torquator Tasso (GERMANY) – 6/1

Vadeni (FRANCE) – 2/15

Holder (JAPAN) – 8/1

Westover (GREAT BRITAIN) – 9/1

Honest (FRANCE) – 1/10

“So I think everyone is waiting for that moment. But in recent years, the level of racing in Japan has improved.”

“It would be nice if this was the time to win the race. But the most important part of our job is to get Titleholder into top form for Arc day.”

The incumbent arrived at his temporary base in France on September 16 and has been acclimating to local conditions.

“The goal is for him to get used to the ground and get ready for the next week,” Kurita said. “He arrived last week and everything has been going great so far. He’s progressing well.

“His improvement is due to maturity, rather than distance. I have understood the characteristics of the horse and its strengths”.

With heavy rain expected to fall in Paris over the Arc weekend, Titleholder’s endurance could be tested, while Kurita admits ground conditions will be a bit of an unknown.

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Sir Mark Prescott admitted there is pressure to meet Alpinista in Sunday’s arc, live on Sky Sports Racing

“There is the ground issue, but the quality of the Japanese horses has improved, so with the four runners this year we will see how well they can do,” he said. “We won’t know until today.

“I will make sure that he is 100 per cent to give the best possible performance.

“His strong point is that he has a good cruising speed and he can run with power until the end of his races. The most important thing is that he has established his racing style.”

“The name Titleholder stands for the horse that has won the titles, and now that he has won three Group One races, he deserves this name!

“The name suits him and I hope he wins many more titles!”

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